(To the members of the Birders list who came here in response to my request for help — thanks! I’ve gotten several confirmations offlist that the shorebird is in fact a Dunlin, and the heron is a Great Blue.)
Today I went to Dutton Fields (Auburn Hills, Oakland County), prompted by Ed Lewandowski’s good report from there a few days ago. I did indeed find many of the birds he reported at the pond, and got some good practice with my spotting scope. But I saw two birds that seem unlikely for right here, right now.
First, is this a Dunlin standing amongst all those Canada Geese? Sure looks like it to me with that black belly. It was running around with a Spotted Sandpiper. (Sorry the photo isn’t sharp — use “control +” to enlarge it even more if that’s of any help.)
The last Dunlin reported in our area on eBird this year was Kevin R’s report at Stony Creek a few weeks ago.
The second one I’d like opinions on is also unlikely. At first glance I thought I was looking at a Great Blue Heron standing beside a Great Egret. But then I noticed the white belly and rump. And the bill looks darker than it should be on a GBHE (although that could just be the light or pond scum, I know). Also, it appears to be about the same size as the egret. My Peterson field guide gives heights of these heron species as follows:
Great Blue Heron:45-47″
So if it was a GBHE, I’d expect it to look larger beside the egret….so what do you all think? Is it too much to hope that I’ve found TWO unexpected species in one day?