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Watch for a small curlew

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  • RLEVALLEY@AOL.COM
    Hi all, I know I m sticking my neck out, but on Saturday afternoon I was walking along the Little River Headlands just south of Mendocino in Mendocino County
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 24, 2001
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      Hi all,

      I know I'm sticking my neck out, but on Saturday afternoon I was walking
      along the Little River Headlands just south of Mendocino in Mendocino County
      CA when I heard a churtling call that I did not recognize repeated three to
      four times fairly close to me. At first I thought that the sound was coming
      from the marshy area in front of me, but then realized that it was coming
      from a bird flying overhead. As I looked up I saw a small curlew with a very
      short bill heading south along the coast. I couldn't really see many details
      of the bird, but it seemed more brown (rather than gray) than a Whimbrel and
      paler on the breast. Most importantly, the bill was definitely shorter, I
      estimated it as about half the length of a Whimbrel. The most interesting
      characteristic was the call. At first I took it for a rail, and then a
      falcon. It was repeated three-four times with the same pattern as a Whimbrel,
      but with a churtling, hoarse quality. I told my companion that I had never
      heard a Whimbrel or a curlew that sounded like that (I am very familiar with
      Whimbrel, Long-billed Curlew, and heard and whistled to many Bristle-thighed
      Curlews this past winter on Midway Island). At first she wanted to know what
      species a Horse Whimbrel was, as that is how I described the call to her. I
      did not know what a Little Curlew sounds like, but I told her that based on
      what I had seen, that would be the only real possibility. I then told the
      story of Eskimo Curlews.

      When I got back to my house this evening, I checked Paulson's Shorebirds of
      the Pacific Northwest and was impressed by his description of the call of the
      Little Curlew as "somewhat like that of a WHIMBREL but shorter, often with
      three notes, and distinctly harsh or hoarse."

      I'm not really claiming a Little Curlew, but my gut feeling is that's what I
      saw. Anybody know the call well?

      Ron
      -----------------------------
      Ron LeValley                                                                
      RLeValley@...    <==Direct to me        
      Cell 707/496-3326
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