Really – they’re a key way to idennify the Black-bellied Plover in flight and when in his dull plummage. My guidebook points it out – and the photos I got this morning prove it. See – black armpits. (not the gulls, the little guy who has just taken off. He’s a Black-bellied Plover, but at this time of year all that’s left of his black belly is the black under his “arms” – that is, where wings meet body.
Not sure? Take a look at this closeup of another shot. (Yes, he blends in nicely with his surroundings!).
Can’t wait to see him in his mating plummage – sort of looks like he’s wearing a tuxedo! But he was fun chasing around on Northeast Beach today and I think this picture of him in flight with nearby gulls gives a good idea of his size, as well as the wing and tail markings he displays in flight. He’s about medium size for the shorebirds on Gooseberry.
I’m becoming comfortable with the most common shorebirds, but still finding it fun to photograph them in the hopes of getting something that displays their field marks well, as I think this picture of a Semipalmated Plover on Northeast Beach today does. “Semipalmater,” I understand, means that he has some webbing between his feet. In some pictures it looks like he has quite bit. In this his leading foot shows no obvious webbing, while the hind foot shows just a little. Not that you need to look at his feet to identify him, but “semipalmated” is a curious word, so I looked carefully at the several photos I have of this bird, trying to figure which ones show the semipalmated feature best,
I can’t really explain it, but as that Black-bellied Plover flew by heading north, I spun around and followed him, stalking him back down Northeast Beach long past the point of identifying and photographing him. I guess I kept hoping for a better picture. It was hardly like this was a new bird for me. Nor for that matter, was the semipalmated plover I saw earlier. But trying to capture each – well – on camera, sent my pulse racing. Oh I’m not talking about earth-shattering good photography. The good photographers ran past me long, long ago. There is absolutely breath-taking stuff online these days. No – I just mean capturing them in such a way that their identifying field marks show well and they perhaps make a pleasing composition that will help me remember the experience of being there on this particular morning which was special only because it was this particular morning. 😉
Still quite warm, by the way, despite some violent storms which signalled the arrival of a cold front last night. The weather brought out joggers, a pair of kayakers and handful of fishing men.