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So a Hudsonian Godwit, Marbled Godwit and Bar-tailed Godwit walk into a bar....

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Wireless Road, Astoria, OR, or as I've started calling it, Cow Poo Rd, is an odd little birding mecca up here. It's two miles or so of road that runs close by where Young's Bay turns into Young's River. It's mostly farm fields, lots of grass, sheep, too many cows and chickens. Birds love it. Gulls, eagles, shorebirds and waterfowl all enjoy the...uh, whatever cows bring to the table so to speak.

Late this last week, some more able birders than I spotted both a Bar-tailed and Hudsonian Godwit mixed in with the Marbled. Friday I was able to get out, and I got some distance looks at both, using the scope, but camera shots were a little less than helpful. I did get one photo that was enough for a great local birder to nudge me to say, yes, that's the Hudsonian.

I went out again yesterday (three times) before they came back in. The godwits along with the few dozen Whimbrel, make their way closer to the fence and road, but twice the eagles come in and scatter them. Just about the time I think I have a a lock on "yep, that's the Hudsonian" another Whimbrel wanders by and gets me all confused again.

I have some that I know are Marbled, some that I know are Hudsonian, but a few that that I'm about to give myself another splitting headache trying to convince myself one way or the other. I feel like from the front I know it, but when it goes to a side view, not so much. So here goes.

Definite Hudsonian


Definite Marbled















7 Hudsonian, Whimbrel, Marbled, I think



The Hudsonian is my newest life bird (532) and there was an Emperor Goose out there at the same place that was 531 earlier in the week. It's been a great year/month for life birds. I've gotten four in the last 30 days, and I think my husband is about double that, since he's often not along on the first round but I drag him back out to see something again. LOL

Anyway, I always second guess myself on life birds and shore birds in particular so much, and I don't want to toss the photos onto eBird all muddled up.

Thanks in advance!


Edited by okaugust
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Thanks, I'm wondering if the person who suggested it was originally is incorrect now, as it had been accepted by eBird reviewers then not. But I've also had other folks who are local saying it is. People who really know their distinctions.

Are you including the first photo in the comment that it is not either?

The others I'm not surprised, I for sure had my own doubts, which is why I posted them of course. ?


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2 hours ago, Liam said:

But why? Not disagreeing, just wondering what you're basing it off of.

A few things. Back pattern is wrong, structure is off, facial pattern is wrong, and it lacks the deep chestnut belly of a Hudwit. It has a uniform cinnamon color, which fits Marbled over the more contrasting look of Hudsonian. 

Additionally, we have the luxury of actually having many photos of the Hudsonian in question at this spot. Clearly not the same bird imo. 




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Look at this checklist from the same spot. 



The OP’s bird is clearly closer, and maybe even identical, to the Marbled in that checklist. In my experience, Hudsonian, especially this time of year, stand out very clearly from Marbled, and if you’re unsure, it’s probably a Marbled. 

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  • 1 month later...

I just came in to ask a typical Coopers/Sharpie question and realized I hadn't followed up with this line of questioning, and thought you might appreciate the final play by play...

As mentioned, I had two locally well regarded birders confirm the bird was Hudsonian. It cleared the eBird review. You indicated it was not a Hudsonian, and so I reached out to another birding ace and eBird reviewer for another opinion. He came back and said not Hudsonian. With votes 3 for and 2 against, I flipped the ID on eBird to Marbled. Then the original eBird reviewer came back and said no, it's Hudsonian. I messages back and gave him the breakdown of who said what, we all had a good laugh about it, and it remains Marbled.

Lordy, aren't shore birds fun?

The funnest part is I didn't give up and kept going out and finally...


If you tell me the bird on the left is not Hudsonian, I'm giving up birding....

And as a nice reward for all that determination, a female showed up at a local bay at the end of May. I think we were the last ones to see it before it it went on its way.


I just wanted you to know I appreciate the help. Wishful thinking is one thing, but I'd rather be right with my ID and err on the side of caution than report something incorrectly. I value your opinion and it helped me shape the direction of the discussion.

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