A little mystery, a little discovery, plus masses of tree swallows and a gathering of osprey

Somehow the sky can seem crowded when just two ospreys decide to fish the same spot.

Ospreys fishing at low tide over northeast beach. (Click any image for larger version.)

I rarely see Osprey off Gooseberry and when I do they seem to be just passing by. But not yesterday – yesterday there were four and while they frequently paused and hovered taking aim at something below, I never saw them dive .

The sun had just risen and was catching the right wing of this bird. (Seems more speckled than usual – wonder if that means it’s a young one?

Four at once I'm not used to seeing - either at Gooseberry or on the river - seems to me they usually hunt alone.

Of course, for tree swallows four is hardly a crowd. As I walked the beach on this morning they kept appearing in ones and twos, appearing to come from the general direction of the Bay and Westport’s East Beach.  They all seemed to know where they were going and as I looked up to the southwest, there was the answer over the duck pond – a regular tree swallow convention – not uncommon on Gooseberry at this time of the year, but still quite a sight!

But catching these little dudes with the camera was  like trying to snag a speeding bullet in your teeth – well something like I imagine that would be. Never tried it myself 😉

Yeah, there's two in this picture - I was lucky, but the shutter speed just wasn't fast enough.

And frequently they skimmed the tops of the beach grass. I'm talking a regular, continuous parade here.

And once in a while I got real lucky. Does that look like a rocket ship, or what!?

Now, at the other end of the funnel it looked like this.

Tree swallow convention.

And when you got in close, it looked like this.

About the kind of mish mash you would find during happy hour at any convention,

Meanwhile, back on the beach,  life was moving at a slower pace and this dude had me puzzled for a while.

I believe it's a juvenile sanderling - but at first I thought it might be something else in a transitional phase. Blends in nicely, doesn't he!

Now here’s a real mystery to me. My gut feeling was semipalmated plover. I see lots of them and I didn’t look closely. But when I started examing the photos I saw something else. First, no black mask – and second, the orange legs weren’t really orange – more greenish. So this looks to me like a Wilson’s Plover, something I’ve never seen. But – I don’t see alighter band above the eye and it seems a bit small???  Advice from more knowledgeable birders would be welcome.

Hey dude, where's your mask? Possibly a Wilson's Plover?

Now these legs are orange!

Semipalmated plover.

At least the Ruddy Turnstone’s are easy to be sure about!

And here’s a new one for me this season I believe – a black-bellied plover halfway between breeding and non-breeding plumage.

Black-bellied plover.

I tend to think of the black-bellied plover as quite large – but here you get a good comparison of his size with a semi-palmated plover and gull.

Good size comparison - emipalmated plover to the left, gull, and a black-bellied plover.

And while we’re on the subject of gulls, here’s a juvenile herring gull. i think he’s say “enough witht he pictures,” so I’ll stop here. I still have another crop from my walk this morning! Maybe I’ll put those up tomorrow.

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One Response to A little mystery, a little discovery, plus masses of tree swallows and a gathering of osprey

  1. Daphne says:

    An avian paradise! So many different birds!

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