A cloudy morning between rainy spells turned out to be a raptor-fest. The salt pannes (water filled depressions in the salt marsh) were full of shorebirds pausing on their migration. There were also a large group of egrets and a few swans and geese. One of our group spotted a young Bald Eagle approaching the perimeter of the main panne and we watched as it flew over the marsh. A small group of Canada Geese were in the air immediately. The shorebirds were a bit nervous and flew about, but stayed around the panne. The egrets seemed to completely ignore the eagle.
Semipalmated Sandpipers dominated the flock of shorebirds scattered all over the panne with a lot of White-rumped and Least Sandpipers mixed in. There were a few members of other species intermingled as well.
The shorebirds took much more notice when the next raptor flew into the pannes a short time after the eagle flew by. This is one of two Peregrine Falcons that swooped in to try for quick meal.
The entire flock of hundreds of shorebirds took the air, swirled around and eventually disappeared. The tide was on its way out and they probably decided to go to the mudflats in the river to see if they could forage there in relative safety.
The show wasn’t over though. We went to another pool after all of the shorebirds left the pannes. There we had another Peregrine sighting.
We did have some time to observe more shorebirds when we first arrived at the pool. But it was time to move on again once the falcon cleared out all the birds except the ducks and cormorants.