Despite their name, Short-billed Dowitchers actually have rather long bills, which they use to forage for tiny, muddy invertebrates. As with many shorebird species, the tip of a Dowitchers' bill is packed with a type of nerve ending known as corpuscles of Herbst, which allow them to sense their prey as they probe the soft soil.
last night’s, last light
A well-hidden, poorly-lit Long-eared Owl from last winter. These birds are so great, I'm really hoping they return to this spot in few months.
A male Pileated Woodpecker inspecting his work. You can tell he's a male because of the red 'moustache' marking known as a malar stripe.
A Black-crowned Night Heron taking a stab at a sandworm - you'll notice there's no splash here like you so often see in images of hunting herons and egrets. Black-crowned Night Herons employ an almost painfully slow hunting style, patiently creeping up on their prey and waiting until the last second to strike. This guy didn't go in for the kill until his bill was hovering just a few inches above the water.
A gorgeous Red-shouldered Hawk at sunset last December
One of the better-named birds around, the Stilt Sandpiper is, in fact, noticeably longer-legged than any of its calidrid counterparts. That extra height made it very easy to separate this guy from the crowd of Least and Semipalmated peeps, but I kept losing him when he would wander into a group of Yellowlegs.
Short-billed Dowitchers spend a lot of time with their faces in the mud, it's always nice when one stands up straight for a second.
35mm of Nutmeg Country loves not in #nutmegcountry but the smoky, dusty, bear-filled, mountainous landscapes of the Great Divide. see y’all soon! 💋