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I don't have a photo, unfortunately, but hoping someone can point me in the right direction...

At my fathers place on Christmas day , he is on a forested acreage in Ashton Creek, 10km east of Enderby, BC, he mentioned that he had been seeing a solitary sandpiper-type bird at his little creek for the past several days.

I went down to where he said he had seen it and I saw it there.

It definitely had a sandpiper-esque look to it...

- Body size was maybe 1.5x the size of a Robin
- long-ish (but not really long) legs
- quite long bill, I would estimate maybe 3" long, thin, looked to be completely straight
- it appeared to be mostly grey, perhaps brown, in colour but this was nearing sundown, so lighting was not great
- I wasn't able to notice much in the way of markings, though I DID note that it had conspicuous white stripes down it's back... I think maybe 3 stripes
- when it flew away, it's wing span was significantly winder than it's body is long, and it was pale/white on it's underside.

In terms of behaviour:

- seems to be solitary
- seen wading in a small, slow-moving stream in a heavily forested area, probing in the water and area
- my father noted he had seen it probing in mud and coming out with insects
- it had a dipping behaviour at times as it stood, dipping it's rear end repeatedly similar to an American Dipper, but not as pronounced
- when it flew, it was quite agile, dipping, diving, and maneuvering through, and around, the trees and branches before landing further down the stream

My father indicated he thought it was a Solitary Sandpiper, but images I've seen of it show pretty defined spots, and this bird did not appear to have spots.

Well my bird id skills aren’t the sharpest, especially with sandpipers, but I have 2 possibilities
1. Long-billed Dowitcher - While not exactly spotted they are a mottled brownish/grey and have a distinctive white stripe on their back, visible in flight. Beak length & shape agree with yours, as does the probing in the mud behaviour.
2. Stilt Sandpiper - although it is late for one to still be this far north, anything is possible. Again as with the LBD it is mottled grey/brown, long straight beak, probes in the mud and it does have a pale belly.
Just a couple of guesses. Of course, it could still be a Solitary but their bills are not as long as you describe.
This is a perfect description of a Wilson's Snipe! They are often in small creeks and runoffs in the winter, surrounded by a bit of wooded vegetation and feed on invertebrates and such things on the edges and bottoms of the streams.


LoganLalonde, thanks! I looked up images of Snipes, and I think that may be the one.

Images seem to show more barring and markings, which I didn't notice on the bird, but the lighting was poor, so probably easily missed

Thanks! I think you've got it. :)

(On a side, note, funny, I thought "Snipe hunting" was a joke! LOL)

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