Ruddy Turnstone . . . why do I love to say that?

andy_cappThere’s a Ruddy Duck too . . . only today it was the Ruddy Turnstone  –  a juvenile, I believe –  who flew right up to my car as I was pausing on the causeway to take more pictures of Common Eiders.  But what I’m getting at here is there’s some crazy magic in the word “ruddy” for me.  Does that word mean anything to you? I mean, does it carry any connotations beyond the dictionary meaning? Me? It just makes me smile. It somehow brings to mind Andy Capp and a whole mystique that hangs around tough little, hard-drinking English chaps who don’t quite look the part, but somehow hang in there and beat the ruddy odds.

It’s probably just me. But that’s the sort of thing that was going through my head as I saw the Turnstone, hopped out of the car, and snapped a couple pictures of the little fellow before he flew away. (He wasn’t about to turn these stones – they each must weigh a ton!) I’ve been seeing Ruddy Turnstones at a distance  – this is the first time I have gotten a look at one up close. Not a real good look, mind you. It was a murky day, spitting random rain drops out of the southeast with a good chop on the bay side, but the ocean pretty smooth and a storm certainly in the offing. And, of course, he’s not in his courtship finery, but he still looks rather ruddy, don’t you think?

Click image to get a larger version.

Click image to get a larger version.

And when he flies – oh my! You’ll have to use your imagination – he’s just a ruddy blur! Sorry – best I could do today – maybe some other day. But isn’t he beautiful?

ruddy_blurAnd speaking of beautiful, I can remember how stunned I was to first see this shade of green on a male Common Eider many years ago. It seemed down right exotic to me -as subtle as it was unexpected – see  it there up around the back of his his head? (The mature one, of course? His companion is a first year bird.)

Click image for larger version.

Click image for larger version.

And here we go with the lBJs again – always somdething that makes me struggle with the identity. My first thought – Song Sparrow.  It was the only songbird I photographd on a walk of more than a mile. I guess they were all hunkering down in anticipation of the storm, though it was several hours off. I saw perhaps five percent of what I would normally see. Anyway, I think the line through the eye. the white below it, and the general coloration all say “Song Sparrow.”  But then, the bird guidex rarely show you a picture from behind 😉

Click image for larger version.

Click image for larger version.

Bottom line?  A ruddy good visit despite the lack of songbirds, and the soupy weather.

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