But the real proof of bird movement comes when you re-visit a site and things have changed and that happened three times today as I needed to return to the state park for a variety of reasons. On the second visit, the Stilt Sandpiper count had dropped from eight to two but a Roseate Tern had appeared. On the third visit, the tern numbers were at their highest and Common Terns in particular were thick on the ground - they tend to move earlier in the fall than Forster's Terns.
If you are looking for a real treat at the moment, I'd strongly recommend going out on a boat trip into the back bays to see the Ospreys, which really are having a great year this year. Bob Lubberman took me out yesterday (on the appropriately-named Osprey!), along with Tom Reed, in part to check on a possible Long-billed Curlew seen the day before (of which we found no sign), but also so that I could get a feel for what people are seeing on the boat trips at present. We found a nice scattering of Whimbrel and a good range of all the expected shorebirds for this time of year including some pre-migratory gatherings of Eastern Willets, while the weather made for a fabulous trip. But it was the Ospreys that really stole the show. It seemed that nearly every nest had three youngsters, while nearly every available spot had a nest! At one point I did a quick 360 and counted 19 occupied nests - from a single spot! Even an old, tumble-down hunter's lodge had been reclaimed by the birds, with an Osprey nest sat proudly on the roof.
Whilst I snapped away with the old Canon camera as usual, I thought I would accompany this post with some photos from Jane Ellison which caught the magic of it all out there.
Lunch is served! Two adults plus three youngsters makes for a very busy platform. [photo by Jane Ellison]
Two youngsters get help with some tasty morsels. Note the pale fringes to the upperpart feathers on the youngsters - an easy way to tell them from the plain-backed adults. [Photo by Jane Ellison]
Between meals, there's time for some wing-stretching. This youngster is well on its way to taking its first shaky flight. [Photo by Jane Ellison]
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