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Shore Birds in Florida


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Hi all, this is my first post. I'm struggling to identify two birds I saw while on a walk this evening in Tarpon Springs, FL (about 40 minutes North of Tampa). I saw them right at dusk, and they were feeding in the sand near a large flock of laughing gulls and black skimmers. There were an assortment of wading birds all together. I have a couple ideas but want to hear what you all think! Sorry the pictures aren't great and I didn't get many - it was getting late and light wasn't good.

Thanks!

P1300128.jpg

P1300114.jpg

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You guys are great, thank you so much! Looking back at Merlin, the first photos of both these show breeding adults, while these are non-breeding, so the colors are much more muted with completely different patterns. I had to flip through a few more photos. Good lesson for me and I definitely appreciate your input! 

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11 hours ago, birdbrain22 said:

Short-billed Dowitcher

Are there specific ID marks we can use to rule out long-billed? I'm just curious as they're kind of a pain for me, unless I have playback in hand and they're vocalizing.
All about birds' site shows both species being present in FL during migration but only long-billed in winter. Of course, winter IS migration for some shorebirds so I don't know what exactly would be more likely.

All about birds mentions some VERY subtle differences in posture, something about a rounded belly or more hump-back like appearance but I can't even see that difference in their pictures and a bird's posture changes EVERYTHING sometimes.
So I'm curious what's the best way to tell from this photo.
I wish my brain actually retained all information as I'd be an expert at this by now. 😞

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On 1/25/2019 at 8:08 AM, Charlie Spencer said:

Welcome.  I'm with HamRHead.  These shot are not just great for ID purposes, they're great overall.  The turnstone in particular is a nice shot of a bird being a bird.

Thank you so much! Wildlife photography has been hobby for a while and it has finally turned me on to birding. I've only just started tracking sightings on eBird and wow, I'm looking forward to the day where I don't have to look up EVERY bird to get a positive ID. Thank you for the great welcome to your community, I'm sure I'll have many more questions soon 🙂

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10 hours ago, mikerigney said:

Thank you so much! Wildlife photography has been hobby for a while and it has finally turned me on to birding.

That seems to be a two-way street around here.  Photographers attempting to improve their ID skills, and birders trying to take better photos.  :classic_wink:

Did you know this site has a separate photo forum?

https://forums.whatbird.com/index.php?/forum/3-photo-sharing-and-discussion/

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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4 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

That seems to be a two-way street around here.  Photographers attempting to improve their ID skills, and birders trying to take better photos.  :classic_wink:

Did you know this site has a separate photo forum?

https://forums.whatbird.com/index.php?/forum/3-photo-sharing-and-discussion/

I hadn't seen that yet, thank you for sharing! I just got back from a walk, will post my best from today after I sort! 🙂

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