A most interesting question was posed to me by a birding friend. I could not guess the answer despite some pretty good tries on my part. I open the question up to you.
The email, received on May 7 at 6:15AM, reads verbatim:
“RE: NEW YARD BIRD
‘This morning – flying with three of another related species (those were interesting enough in themselves). It was still a little dark out there; I would have missed it had it not been for the three companions. They all lit so I could get the scope on them to confirm the ID.”
Here are some hints:
1. The birder lives in upstate New York, in the northeast US.
2. The birder was at home when the sighting was made.
3. Habitat … the birder lives along the Hudson River, and so has good views of the river. This area is also a migrant corridor for land birds.
4. With 207 on the yard list already, new ones are hard to come by.
@John – good guess, not an easy one to get here. But nope.
@Brendan … Bohemian Waxwing is an uncommon winter species in this area, we usually go north for this one. But nope. Think scope.
@jmj – Black Vulture, recently has moved into this area. Still not widespread and worthy of note. But alas, already on the yard list.
All great guesses so far, none correct. Would these have birds been yard birds? Here is the update so far
Long-billed Dowitcher – would have been a yard bird
Bohemian Waxwing – would have been a yard bird
Black Vulture – already on the list
My first guess was California Condor but on further consideration, and I know this is not a valid guess so you can ignore it, but it will turn out to have been dome kind of woodpeckery thing.
maybe a woodpeckery thing named after the number of toes it has?
No “woodpeckery things’, no matter how many toes they have.
Eurasian Wigeon is an excellent guess. They show up around here from time to time. Would be a yard bird.
ANOTHER CLUE: My friend and I have been birders for decades and it is only recently that we’ve both added this species to our life list.
ANONYMOUS GUESS … Ross’s Goose. Good guess. Would be a yard bird. But, alas, incorrect.
– My first ever was my 300th species during my big year in NY in 2007.
– I have now identified 4 individuals of this species. A few just north of Plattsburgh NY. One in Coxsackie NY.
– On a number of occasions I have searched unsuccessfully in the fields of Long Island NY.
– I have probably overlooked many. Perhaps you have too.
I wanted to go with Little Gull right away because a buddy of mine caught on on Wednesday in southern Vermont in with a bunch of Bonnies. But the thing about the other three related-species being pretty cool too, well…. Gulls, so nope.
So then the scope hint makes me lean toward shorebird. High Hudson/relative (spring) rarity/plus the hint that the flight (underwing) helps id… kneejerk is Wilson’s Phalarope. Don’t we see them more in fall? Ok, I’ll stop. Marbled Godwit. Final answer.
greater yellow legs?????????????????