Sunday, December 16, 2012

The "Mystery Bird" Revealed!

"Mystery" Bird
          In my last post, I presented the "Mystery Bird" above and challenged the readership to identify it.  I did not know if this would be an easy or difficult challenge and I gave no more clues than the photo itself.  Some comments were posted on the blog but most responses came in the form of personal e-mails or in conversation at the Charleston Natural History Society's (aka Charleston Audubon) annual holiday oyster roast.  The guess of "willet" was retracted.  A non-birding friend offered up "Robin" and giggled.  Most others said Marbled Godwit.  One of those observed, "but the legs are not right for a Marbled Godwit." Two fellow birders did correctly, albeit hesitantly, identify the bird!  And for a couple more, the correct answer was their second choice, with Marbled Godwit being their first guess. 

           I had intended to reveal the identity in a post about our Thanksgiving trip to St. Petersburg, Florida -- our first trip to Florida as birders!  (Ah HA!  Another clue, perhaps!)  I have indeed been working on that post but I have found that I have too much to say and the BIG REVEAL might have been lost in the middle of a long, but interesting (of course) tale of our 3 birding excursions and 6 life birds!  Yes, the "Mystery Bird" was a life bird!  (Ah, another clue for those of you know that in SC Marbled Godwits are relatively easy to see).  Finally, if I am going to present a teaser in one post, then perhaps the answer merits a post of its own as well.  So, drum roll please! -- Here is our Mystery Bird REVEALED -- Life Bird no. 334 for me! -- no. 4 of 6 on this Florida trip! -- complete with his very long and useful bill -- the lovely .....

Long-Billed Curlew -- Fort De Soto Park -- St. Petersburg, FL -- November 23, 2012

........ Long-Billed Curlew!    Congrats to Pam F. and to Paul N. who correctly determined the bird's identity!!!

      In a happily timed coincidence, the American Bird Conservancy named the Long-Billed Curlew as its "Bird of the Week" on Friday, December 7 -- allowing me to provide you with a link on its range and conservation status.  You can learn more about this species also from this Audubon species account.  

        Carl and I were thrilled to see it and to be able to photograph this very willing and unperturbed subject.  You will learn more about our encounter with this largest of all shorebirds in Part 2 of the upcoming 3-part series on our Thanksgiving trip to Florida -- 6 life birds in 3 birding excursions in the St. Petersburg, Florida area.  Wow!  Stay tuned! 


  1. well, we thought about a curlew but did not think it could "hide" that huuuuuge bill that deep in the substrate! Good going! g

  2. Fun post. Enjoyable reading.

  3. First Glance I thought marbled godwit but I didn't think it could be that obvious, fun post!