Four shorebirds: Fall 2009

Can you identify these four shorebirds? I couldn't, though I had some ideas, it took studying th epictures and studying  Sibley et al, before I was reasonably certain of what we had seen. (Click for larger image.)

Can you identify these four shorebirds? I couldn't, though I had some ideas, it took studying the pictures I took and studying Sibley et al, before I was reasonably certain of what we had seen. (Click for larger image.)

Instead of going down the  old dirt road in the middle of the island on our walk today, we (Bren, Elisa, Higgins and I)  decided to follow the eastern shore out to the large point where it starts to turn a bit westward as it continues out. We were rewarded by an unexpected look at four different types of shorebirds. The first, which I’m now convinced is  an American Golden Plover in adult nonbreeding plummage, was quite tame. In fact, he felt kind of out of place, not seeming to be interested in eating or wading. Here are a couple of shots of him/her.

Click for larger image.

Click for larger image.

Click for larger image.

Yes, he's coming in for a landing, but much easier to see if you cick for larger image.

We met him again on our way back when he teamed up with a Ruddy Turnstone. More on that in a moment.  But he was a new bird for me, I’m quite sure, as was the next one, a Spotted Sandpiper.

Click for larger image.

Click for larger image.

He/she played hide-and-seek with us around a rock.

Click for larger image.

They say the "white spectacles" make him look more alert - what do you think? Click for larger image.

Lovely in flight - click for larger image.

Lovely in flight - click for larger image.

Nice landing, too - click for larger image.

Nice landing, too - click for larger image.

Then we saw a couple of the little guys – in fact, going from the Golden to the Spotted Sandpiper to the Semipalmated Plovers made a nice progression in size.

Click for larger image.

Click for larger image.

And these guys also put on a good flying demonstration.

(Click image for larger view.)

(Click image for larger view.)

Showing off some field marks such as the dark tail and wing patterns.

(Click image for larger view.)

(Click image for larger view.)

(Click image for larger view.)

(Click image for larger view.)

Is there such a thing as a bad feather day? I’m 99% sure that what we have here is a Ruddy Turnstone going from breeding plumage to winter garb. Love those orange legs, though!

(Click image for larger view.)

(Click image for larger view.)

Can you spell c a m o u f  l a g e? (I can’t – I know it has a “u” but I’m never sure where it belongs 😉  OK – second question. Can you find both the Ruddy Turnstone and the American Golden Plover? (Hint: The plover is the one saying “hey, do you always have to wear orange socks?”)

(Click image for larger view.)

(Click image for larger view.

With all of these birds the conversation usually went like this.

“Look!”

“Where?

“Right there! Right in front of you!”

“I don’t see any thing.”

(Click image for larger view.)

Yes, there are two full-sized shorebirds in this picture - but if you don't see them , try clicking the image for a larger view.

And until the bird moved you seldom did – especially when they were on seaweed or rocks. The sand set them off pretty easily. This was true even though nearly all these birds were within 15-20 feet of us when we spotted them.

Looking forward to seeing what else shows up and when – and who leaves and when. There’s such a wonderful wealth of bird life here – hawks and gulls in the sky, song birds in the extensive, thick brush, ducks and other sea bords along the shore. some coming out from the river, some coming in from the ocean depending on weather, tides, and season – and, of course, the shore birds.

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One Response to Four shorebirds: Fall 2009

  1. Pingback: New bird for me – I think – maybe – well, a nice bird any ways! | Gooseberry Journal

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