Friday, September 9, 2016

Beach Birds

 It was last week I decided to take a drive down the southern shore. It was mainly warblers I had in my mind, but who could avoid checking the beaches along the way. Not me.

The tide in Renews wasn't quite right while I was there, but I did get an opportunity to get a good look at this Ruddy Turnstone. He was so busy flipping over seaweed and stones he hardly noticed me.
 With a little extra time on my hands, I detoured to Witless Bay Beach. I rarely stop at this location. With warm weather, low winds, low tide and about 25 birds to study, it was a pleasant stop.
 There were ten Sanderlings, the most I have seen at one location so far this year.
 In no time, they became comfortable with my presence and went on about their business as usual.
 There was some variation in the plumage of these birds. In my opinion, most were juvenile birds.
 Of course, the Sanderlings weren't alone. There were three Semipalmated Sandpipers and two White-rumped Sandpipers. Look closely at this shot, and it is possible to see the webbing between the "toes" of this sandpiper. The most abundant species on the beach was the Semipalmated Plover.
 A nice addition to the flock was the presence of two Least Sandpipers. All beach birds would dodge the beachcombers by flying offshore, circling and returning to the beach. I observed this several times.
 However, they were less tolerant of this Merlin. Out of nowhere it appeared on the beach looking for supper. The shorebirds quickly lifted off, flew up and far away. They did not return to the beach while I was there.
Note: There were also a few shorebirds on the Witless Bay beach by Highway 10.

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