shorebirds

Dunlin

Dunlin

Dunlins are hardy birds that winter farther north than any other shorebird.  This fall and winter they will be along the Washington coast from late October to early May.  Major stopover points for them are the tidal flats and coastal estuaries around Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor and the Samish and Skagit Flats where they forage on marine and freshwater invertebrates by probing a few centimeters into the mud or fine-grained sand.

Marbled Godwit

Marbled Godwit

The Marbled Godwit (MAGO) is about 18" long with a 29" wingspan and weighs 13 oz. (370g). The genus name Limosa (lie-MOH-sah) is from the Latin limus, meaning "muddy," for its favorite habitat, mudflats. The species name fedoa (FED-oh-ah) is the Latin version of an old and now unknown English word meaning "marbled." - for its mottled plumage.

Western Sandpiper

Western Sandpiper

The Western Sandpiper is part of the genus Calidris from the Greek kalidris which was used by Aristotle for a speckled waterbird.  Mauri is from Ernest Mauri (1791-1836) an Italian botanist and a friend of Charles Bonaparte (1803-1857), who named this bird for him.  They co-authored a book on Italian fauna.  The bird is the western counterpart to the Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla and the common name designates this location.

Red Knot

Red Knot

n spring the Red Knot stands out on tidal flats in its bright chestnut plumage on its face, chest and belly. It has black legs and a black bill that is about as long as the head is wide (Paulson). By late July it will have molted to gray with a white belly and it easily blends in with other shorebirds and the colors of sand and vegetation along shorelines.

Wandering Tattler

Wandering Tattler

The genus name Heteroscelus (heh-teh-ROSS-keh-lus) is from the Greek heteros, meaning “other” or “different”, and skelos, for “leg” which alludes to legs of this species being different from other sandpipers. The tarsus is scutellated instead of reticulated at the back. “Scutellated” is when the bare skin of the tarsus is a horny skin cut up into overlapping scales like shingles on a roof.

Whimbrel

Whimbrel

The genus name Numenius (new-MEAN-ih-us) is Latin from the Greek noumenios, of the new moon; curve of bill is likened to new crescent moon. The species name phaeopus (FEE-oh-pus) is from the Greek phaios, gray, and pous, foot, gray-foot. It was named Whimbrel in England from uttered note which sounded like whim. It is a member of the curlew family.