LOUISIANA BIRD RECORDS COMMITTEE
1. English and Scientific names:
Ruff, Philomachus pugnax
2. Number of individuals, sexes, ages, general plumage (e.g., 2 in
One, female first fall.
3. Locality: LOUISIANA: (parish)
Jefferson Davis Parish
Fallow agricultural field on Calcasieu Land Company Property. West side of Illinois Gas Plant Road approximately 1.8 miles south of its intersection with LA 14.
4. Date(s) when observed:
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
5. Time(s) of day when observed:
First observed about 10:28 AM CDST and last observed about 10:47 AM CDST.
6. Reporting observer and address:
Jay V. Huner, Boyce, LA 71409.
7. Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s):
None. Glenn Ousset, Mary Mehaffey and Janine Robin subsequently relocated the bird later in the morning.
8. Other observers who independently identified the bird(s):
W. David Patton and John Whittle.
9. Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to
direction and amount of light):
Looking west in mid-morning. Light was from my back. Bird was fully illuminated.
10. Optical equipment (type, power, condition):
Zeiss 10 x 40 binoculars - good condition.
11. Distance to bird(s):
12. Duration of observation:
First seen about 10:28 AM CDST and last seen about 10:47 AM CDST.
Fallow agricultural field. Probably in a permanent rice rotation. Ankle deep semi-aquatic vegetation - probably alligator weed and/or smartweed.
14. Behavior of bird / circumstances of observation (flying, feeding,
resting; include and stress habits used in identification; relate events
Bird was foraging south to north along a slight ridge/headland about 100 yards from the road.The ridge was grown up in sesbania about knee high. The bird was within 5-10 feet of the ridge.
15. Description (include only what was actually seen, not what "should"
have been seen; include if possible: total length/relative size compared
to other familiar species, body bulk, shape, proportions, bill, eye, leg,
and plumage characteristics. Stress features that separate it from similar
I did not have a full, scope aided view of the bird. There was no safe place, in my opinion, to leave my vehicle and set up a scope. I did see a bird that appeared to be more or less identical to
the bird photographed by W. D. Patton. I gauged size by nearby Killdeer and saw the high contrast checkering and white underside extending beyond the folded wings.
17. Similar species (include how they were eliminated by your
Pectoral Sandpiper - larger than Pectoral Sandpiper and difference in the extent of the white under side.
18. Photographs or tape recordings obtained? (by whom? attached?):
Bird was too distant and blended into surrounding vegetation for my camera to be effective. I could not find it in the view finder at high magnification.
19. Previous experience with this species:
I had previously seen a first fall Ruff in 1999 at the USL Experimental Farm and saw a number of first fall Ruffs in Finland in July 2008. However, had I not known what to look for and had I
not seen the Patton images, I doubt I would have ever recognized the bird.
20. Identification aids: (list books, illustrations, other birders, etc.
used in identification):
a. at time of observation: National Geographic Field Guide and Sibley Field Guide.
b. after observation: None.
21. This description is written from: __x_ notes made during the
observation (_____notes attached?);_____notes made after the observation
(date:_____); _____memory. [See below]
Notes: Ruff. Jeff Davis Parish, LA. Illinois Gas Plant Road. First spotted about 10:28 AM CDST. Bird is as described by W. D. Patton and J. Whittle and at same location, more or less on
west side of road. Foraging along a ridge about 150 yards from road in the field described by Patton and Whittle. Will try to take pictures but bird is so nondescript that I cannot actually
find it in view finder at high magnification. Size is defined by nearby Killdeers - Whittle comments. Frankly, without the Patton images and Patton-Whittle description, I would never have
noticed the bird. It is conspicuous by being by itself. Bird last observed about 10:47 AM.
10:51 AM - Bird may have moved westerly across ridge to marshy wet area at around 200 yards and resembling Pattons images and Patton-Whittle habitat description. Partly cloudy with 10-15 MPH
southerly breeze. There is no where to safely park and set up a scope.
Clean white bely was in good view as bird foraged. Checkering clear on back.
11:15 AM - Found good bit of water in Cable Crossing Area about 0.3 mile north of 1.8 mile stop. Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs and Black-necked Stilt with Snowy Egrets and White-faced Ibis
present. Had seen a couple of Willets on first pass. Also White Ibis and Little Blue Herons plus Roseate Spoonbills in area. Had also seen a few Mottled Ducks. Some Red-winged Blackbirds,
Common Grackles and Loggerhead Shrikes around. Add No. Mockingbirds and Barn Swallows and Ticolored Herons and Mouning Dove, and Cattle Egrets. Great Egrets.
22. Are you positive of your identification if not, explain:
23. Signature of reporter:
____Jay V. Huner___Date:_July 31, 2012_Time: 7:25 PM.