Between the Storms…Part II

The mist and drizzle had lifted before we left the beach but the skies remained overcast. You’ll notice there is no blue sky in any pictures in this or the last post. The skies were filled with birds though. This is just a part of the huge flock of Tree Swallows swirling around us.

A flock of mostly Semipalmated Plovers flew over the pool as well with the swallows in the background.

The ducks were vastly outnumbered but about 40 or so Teal, Gadwall, Mallards and American Black Ducks were swimming and resting nearby. The easiest way to identify similar sized ducks with similar coloration, especially females, is the color of the patch on their wings. The white and black on this duck tell me it is a Gadwall.

It’s hard to see the color unless the bird is flying but it does peek out on occasion, especially when the duck is preening. The Gadwall (top) shows the white and black patch (speculum) while the Mallard (bottom) has a bit of its purplish speculum poking out. The white border around the purple identifies it as a Mallard. The very similar looking Black Duck does not have the border.

A Greater Yellowlegs and Short-billed Dowitcher forage on the edge of the pool.

A Semipalmated Sandpiper chases another sandpiper from a feeding spot.

We went to a park in Newburyport after we finished at the refuge. This park is a popular roosting site for Night Herons and we were able to see quite a few of them. The first two below are Black-crowned Night Herons and the others are Yellow-Crowned Night Herons. The spotted brown ones are juveniles.

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