Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday 185 - Little Curlew

One of the things that I think is really important as a bird watcher is to understand that rare things are rare!  As a result you don't see them very often, and most of the time, when you think you do see something rare, it turns out that it's not.  Learn to identify the common stuff is what people said - and by and large that is what I have done.  And I think it's served me well.

That was until I saw this bird.  I was happily photographing some Pacific Golden Plovers when I bird with a long (ish) curved beak walked out of some cover.  Knowing that the beak was too short to be an Eastern Curlew, I though 'Whimbrel' - nice!  I took some shots and the bird wandered back into cover.  Looking at the pictures on the camera, I though they lacked a bit of zap or colour, so I went back to the Plovers.

A couple of weeks later, back at home, I was looking at the 'Whimbrel' pictures for a WBW post - and thought 'That beak really is very much too short, even for a Whimbrel'.  So, I did some checking and got some second opinions - and the bird turns into a Little Curlew (Numenius minutus) which was a first for me!  Not only that, a day or so later I find out it's only the 10th record ever for Lord Howe!

So, while I don't see rare things all the time, it seems that sometimes I do!







Looking at the pictures now, I'm surprised that I did not notice how relatively short the beak was when I saw the bird in the feather - clearly I need to pay more attention!





42 comments:

eileeninmd said...

hello Stewart, what a cute bird. I have enver heard of the Little Curlew. Wonderful collection of photos. Thanks for hosting, enjoy your week!

Nora said...

Wow that is a wonderful little bird. I never have seen a Little Curlew. I have to rely on the experts a lot of times to really identify shorebirds. cheers.

Brian King said...

Nice feather pattern on this guy!

Adam Jones said...

That's absolutely fantastic Stewart, and what a great looking bird too.

Chris Rohrer said...

That sure is a little one!!! New bird for me. Thanks for sharing yet another.

Kenneth Cole Schneider said...

That is quite a find! If you had been looking for it , I guarantee that you would not have seen it! Nicely documented as well.

Bas van Es said...

Wat een geweldig mooie waarneming.

Jo said...

Wow Stewart, that was some find. Great pictures as always. I'm enjoying the local birds in our garden and also those I see and photograph on the golf course every morning. I'll link up tomorrow (Wednesday) to your meme. Have a great day. Jo

Neil said...

Great find just as well you took lots of photos.

Rhodesia said...

Lovely photos of a cute little bird, how lucky you spotted it. Diane

Breathtaking said...

Hello Stewart!:) Well done discovering the Little Curlew. A great looking bird, and lovely series of photos.

TexWisGirl said...

pretty little thing!

Silver Parrot said...

Lovely photos as always and congrats on the rare sighting! We have the Long-billed Curlew and the Whimbrel both here, but nice to see this different bird!

HOOTIN ANNI said...

Sweet!!!

Missy George said...

Interesting feather markings..Cute bird..Lovely pictures..What a happy "accident" !

mick said...

Great photos and very special to see a bird like that!

John @ Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

Do you feel now that you missed out on appreciating the moment for what it really was by not knowing that it was a rare Little Curlew?

Pat Tillett said...

A nice looking bird and nice photos of it.
I know very little about birds and usually don't know what I'm looking at.

Florida Farm Girl said...

Oh, what a treat that had to be!! Good catch.

Tiina V. said...

Great photos!
The bird's feathers have a beautiful color.

Marilyn Kircus said...

How exciting. And how fortuitous that you could get the wonderful pictures to share with us as well as document your find.

Lea said...

Such a pretty pattern in its feathers!
Happy Wild Bird Wednesday!
Lea

photodoug said...

Stewart, great photos. Thanks for sharing.

June Caedmon said...

Nicely captured, Stewart! And what a neat little bird he is, I love his markings. Have a wonder-filled week!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

You are definitely forgiven for not paying (ready) attention when you saw these lovely birds. Especially because you took these wonderful pictures and learned what bird it was before you posted them and then told us (rather than asked, like certain of your readers frequently do, she said, looking at herself)...

What an amazing experience that Island was! Thanks for sharing and for hosting -- and I will be back next week.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

Exquisite photos.

pattisjarrett said...

There is a street near us named Curlew. I never gave much thought to what the name means. What a wonderful find. It's always exciting to spot a new bird, and this one is a beauty.

Black Jack's Carol said...

This was a fascinating post! Congratulations on your rare sighting and on your detective work. I might add to that, your beautiful photography! Well done, Stewart!

Frank said...

A very nice find Stewart. Excellent images.

Linda said...

Pretty feathers! Both Curlew and Whimbrel are nice-sounding names.

Lee said...

Curlews always remind me of my childhood.

JP A Quiet Corner said...

What a little cutie!!!...:)JP

Starr White said...

All of our woodland birds have very short little beaks, so I have to chuckle at the thought of this beautiful and graceful little bird being described as having a 'short' beak! I have set a goal for myself to be able to identify all of the birds (and know their songs) that visit our home here in central Alabama. Lovely to see your beautiful birds down under.

ladyfi said...

A rare beauty indeed!

Marie C said...

How exciting! What a wonderful little bird. He gave you a gift coming out of cover for his photo shoot!

edenhills said...

Great captures! Very pretty.

Phyllis Oller said...

I have to agree with Sally, & what a find! We would have never known...thanks for sharing your find!phyllis

David Gascoigne said...

It's not hard to see why you could mistake for a Whimbrel at first blush. Nice surprise though, huh?

Liz said...

What a fabulous find and surprise, Stewart!! It's always great to get lifers and even better to find rare ones!

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Nice series of images .. Congratulations .. Greetings .

Phil Slade said...

That was a great find Stewart. Like you say, quite unlike a Whimbrel except at first glance.

NatureFootstep said...

lol, glad to see I´m not the only one having trouble ID those lovely birds :)
Thanks for sharing the bird and the story :)