Dowitcher at Lake Tutchewop in Northern Victoria

Subject: Dowitcher at Lake Tutchewop in Northern Victoria
From: Mark Stanley <>
Date: Wed, 12 Nov 2014 07:33:00 +0800
Nobody has commented here on the habitat preferences - wintering
Short-billed Dowitchers in winter are apparently confined to the coast and
favor inter-tidal mudflats, while Long-billed are happy with inland and
coastal sites. Such an inland location would support a Long-billed
diagnosis if the bird sticks around. And apparently it has been there for a
few days.

It is said that Long-billed don't migrate as far as Short-billed, but
Long-billed occur in Siberia so maybe its current location is not that much
beyond it's normal range.

The other curious feature is why the bird is in full colour breeding
plumage - seems to have its dress sense wires crossed as well as its
navigation wires.

Anyway, a very beautiful and enigmatic bird which might bring a lot of
birders to the region if it sticks around. Lets hope we don't put too much
pressure on it and make it leave. From my observations yesterday, it does
not appear particularly flighty, having stayed behind on one occasion when
all the surrounding Sharpies and Stints took off. But there are many
hundreds of waders on the lake so a spooking BOP can put them all up and
drag it with them. Patience is a virtue with this bird.

Lake Tutchewop has a significant stream flowing into it from the south at
the moment - lots of Marsh Sandpipers at that location along with hundreds
of Banded stilt and Avocets. I assume this is environmental flow which
might keep the lake at a reasonable level for some time. Could be quite
interesting there as the summer progresses!

Mark Stanley
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