Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Redpolls, Shorebirds, Waterfowl

[A sight we all love - shorebirds twisting and turning in unison. Over 1000 Dunlin were roosting up the beach from Stone Harbor this morning, with Sanderlings and a few other species. Click to enlarge photos.]

Tom Reed had 2 Common Redpolls flying over Reed's Beach, northbound, yesterday late afternoon, the first report of this species I've heard of this fall. Bill Boyle reports 20 Common Eiders at Sunset Beach this morning, and the Cackling Goose again at the Shunpike Road pond.

Trying to stay out of a stiff west wind, I spent the early morning at Stone Harbor, in the lee of the dunes. A nice mixed flock of ducks floated close to shore, and with the west wind the nearshore waves were small. All three scoters (only one White-winged), an adult male Common Eider, fabulous Long-tailed Ducks, Red-breasted Mergansers - some real eye candy.

[Periodically the shorebirds would get up and fly close by.]

The shorebird show was pretty special, too. With a very high tide, and possibly also to get out of the wind, large numbers of Dunlin (1500?), Sanderling (500?), and a smattering of Purple Sandpipers, Black-bellied Plovers, and Ruddy Turnstones were roosting on a jetty and the beach maybe a half mile north of the Stone Harbor Point parking lot.

[Dunlin casts a shadow.]

Doug Gochfeld tells me he thinks the Orange-crowned Warbler of yesterday was a different bird than the one he saw in the same area a week ago. His bird had more contrast between the grayish head and green body, and less streaking below.

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