Thursday, July 22, 2010

Whistling-ducks Re-surface; Nice Shorebirds et. al. at State Park

[It's good to know birds from every angle - Black-bellied Whistling-ducks, Cape may Point State Park, Lighthouse Pond from the bird blind this morning. Click to enlarge photos.]

Bunker Pond continues to be the happening place, though the Black-bellied Whistling- Ducks were over on Lighthouse Pond fraternizing with the Mallards. When I walked up to Bunker Pond this morning, 5 Stilt Sandpipers there feeding. These promptly took off, but 4 more flew past us during the Bird Walk for All People. The pond held a rich assortment of shorebirds et. al., including both yellowlegs, Short-billed Dowitchers, Semipalmated Plover, Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers, Spotted Sandpipers, ibis, the continuing herd of Great Blue Herons . . . good stuff. A young Peregrine made two passes during the walk.

At the second plover pond, 2 downy Piping Plover chicks, products of a late brood, were accompanied by an adult. Speaking of babies, a fledged juvenile Laughing Gull was with mom or dad in Bunker Pond, the first fledge I've seen this summer, though I've been away for a few days, and all the Great Blues we saw were juveniles, too. A Royal Tern flew past offshore. The full list is up on Field Trip Reports.

[Stilt Sandpipers, Bunker Pond this morning.]

[The Peregrine earned a crow and Purple Martin escort.]

[Spotted and unspotted Sandpipers - the bird in the front is a juvenile Spotted, you might be able to discern the pale feather edges above. That's a Least Sandpiper in the back.]

[Speaking of juvs, this is a juvenile Great Blue Heron. Besides the head pattern (dark crown), note how all the feathers are the same condition (brand new, all grown at once), and the coverts tipped in buff. Uniform, neat fresh feathers are characteristic of juvenile birds of any species in late summer or early fall, before they start to wear and molt.]

[The whistling-duck does have a head.]

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