Molting adult hendersoni Short-billed Dowitcher

Unusual Plumage in Southern Ontario

Above: Molting adult hendersoni Short-billed Dowitcher at Rock Point Provincial Park on the north shore of Lake Erie in Ontario. Note several new gray basic scapulars and new gray basic feathering on face and neck. Also note the retained old browner basic tertial and old basic wing coverts mixed with newer alternate plumage. It is unusual to see a molting adult Short-billed Dowitchers in southern Ontario because southbound adult Short-billed Dowitchers migrate rapidly through southern Ontario and do not molt until they reach the coast and wintering grounds. Photo: 28 July 2005.


Above: Opposite side view showing contrasting newly molted basic feathers. We consider this individual to be closer to the hendersoni subspecies because of the extensive cinnamon and light spotting below and fairly wide buff fringes above. It was loosely associating with four hendersoni including the three birds below. Hendersoni is more variable than generally realized. Photo; 28 July 2005.


Above: Three classic hendersoni subspecies Short-billed Dowitchers at Rock Point Provincial Park in Ontario on 28 July 2005. These birds showed no obvious signs of molt, which is usual in migrating hendersoni in southern Ontario.