My wife Sara and I assist in co-leading our local birding club in Greenfield, IN. We have the pleasure of leading two walks a month, April through October, at some of our local parks. Each park is unique with it’s different habitats and residents. Our most recent walk was at Beckenholdt Park on May 11th. This beautiful “walking park” has a paved mile loop, along with a few grass trails. The park is unique for our city in that it has a range of habitats, including a wetlands, natural grasslands, a re-forestry project and a small wooded area surrounding a pond. We also have a bird housing project at this park. I’m sure I’ll write about that soon.
We started the morning jaunt by heading to the small wetlands which is on the east end of the park. Skirting the north edge of the wetlands is a short boardwalk, which allows for optimal viewing. Our dozen birders slowly advanced up the boardwalk, but before we made it very far our youngest birder for the day, 5-year-old Taylor, asked “What’s that?” She noticed some movement not more than 30 feet off of the boardwalk. Dowitchers! Four of them! Be it short-billed or long-billed, this is a new bird for this city park! (Taylor is going to be a great birder)
Correctly identifying each species of Dowitcher is no easy task. Looking very similar to each other, these birds can even intermingle during migration, making it even harder to correctly count species when in larger groups. Luckily, our small group of four birds was all the same species and close enough to give us some great views. There are a number of field marks that can help with defining dowitcher species and more are being sought out all the time. Coverts, scapular feathers and tertials are most reliable in breeding birds. The angle of the eye relative to the bill is a more recently studied field mark, dubbed the “loral angle.” You can find more detailed information about identifying these species here:
It can be very complex, differentiating these two species. The details are most important, just like a good stout. My pint pairing for the Short-billed Dowitcher needed to be deep with detail, rich in color and possibly be a first for me in Greenfield. My second featured beer from 450 North Brewing (Columbus, IN) is their recent limited release – French Toast Sticks. I was fortunate enough to enjoy a pint of this at my house.
This Breakfast Pastry Stout, brewed with maple syrup, cinnamon and lactose, taste like the name suggests. This isn’t some maple syrupy dark beer. The flavor journey in my mouth went a bit like this – cinnamon and sweet powdered sugar, then a hint of maple followed by a fried-egg-battered-bread finish. Serious Willy Wonka shit going on right here.
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Beer Info –
Brewery – 450 North Brewing– Columbus, IN
Beer – French Toast Sticks
ABV – 10%
Untappd (personal) Rating – 5 out of 5
Bird Photo Info –
Nikon D850 / Sigma (C) 150-600mm lens
1/80sec @ f/6.3 ISO 320 600mm
Aperture Priority – Spot Metering
Tripod Mounted – No Flash
Greenfield, IN – 11MAY2019