Shorebird Mix

The weather was exceptionally nice for an early spring day at the coast on an Audubon group walk. The wind was nearly dead calm and that is a very rare situation when less than 400 meters of trees and dunes is between you and the Atlantic Ocean. The salt pannes were as smooth as glass and acted like a mirror as you can see in this photograph of some Greater Yellowlegs.

The conditions resulted in some interesting photographs of the shorebirds that were on the pannes. These are a Killdeer (left) and American Golden Plover flying across the water.

The Killdeer is a type of plover. It’s a shorebird that actually doesn’t go to the shore. They are common on inland fields and mudflats. They are permanent residents ranging from the middle of the US into Mexico. The population sort of shifts to expand into the northern US and Canada in the summer while shifting south to Mexico and Central America in the winter.

The American Golden Plover is a migrant for us. It breeds in the tundra of Alaska and northern Canada and winters in Uruguay, Paraguay and southern Brazil. It is not a common sighting and we thought it was a similar looking Black-bellied Plover. This photo proved it was a Golden since the Black-bellied Plover has a distinctive black “armpit” and the underside of this bird’s wing is gray.

Here’s a series of photographs showing the two birds landing on a small strip of mud in the panne. The featureless water provides both a backdrop and the reflections.

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