Mixed Bag of Sightings

There have been some cloudy and rainy days lately, bringing much needed rain but making photography a bit more difficult. But the birds are out and so am I. One nice find was a Bonaparte’s Gull attempting to snatch something from a Herring Gull. The photos in my earlier post (Bonaparte’s Gull) didn’t truly illustrate just how small a Bonaparte is. This photo shows how petite (and spunky) they are.

Even more varieties of sparrows have shown up. They can be tough to ID and I am grateful for the advice from more experienced birders!

The overcast sky is evident in the background of some of these photos.

There are some warblers around too, including a Palm Warbler (directly below) and a Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Ducks are moving into the area, including large numbers of sea ducks. Unfortunately I have not been getting particularly good shots with all the cloudy and foggy mornings. But I am working on it! The colors on this Mallard look nice with some light on him but the colors lose something under an overcast sky.

Shorebirds continue to move in or migrate through the area. Large flocks will set down for a rest like these napping in the pannes on Plum Island, tucking their beaks and one leg in to conserve heat.

The entire flock took off suddenly. I couldn’t spot a falcon, hawk or other threat in the area. They were not far off the refuge road so maybe someone slammed a car door or something. This photo shows a portion of the mass of birds.

The next photos are cropped from shots of the flock in flight. The flock consisted mostly of Dunlins but there were Semipalmated Plovers and Black-bellied Plovers as well. I also found a few individuals of other species mixed in too. Here we have Dunlins with their long, slightly curved beaks along with a few Semipalmated Plovers. The plovers have a collar and a short beak.

This is a truly diverse group in the photo below. In addition to the Dunlins, there are two Black-bellied Plovers on the left (note the black “armpits” on one of them) and a White-rumped Sandpiper at the upper right with a Yellowlegs in the background. The completely white rump on the sandpiper is just visible enough for an ID. The beak of the Yellowlegs is hidden so I don’t know if it is a Greater or Lesser Yellowlegs.

This last photo had a nice surprise. There is an American Golden Plover in the center of the photo.

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