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Sunday, January 29, 2012

To 100 and Beyond: A Great Shorebird Day

After work on Friday, we went for a hike at the Friday Harbor Labs. Down along the shoreline a friend showed us a little spot we hadn't visited before, where under a creek flowing over the edge of a rocky cliff there are some maidenhair ferns, the first time I've ever seen this species of fern on the island. Nearby, there were numerous little orange snails in the seaweed, another sight I haven't ever come across on the island. Looking in my intertidal book it looks like there are several likely options for what it could be, so I won't speculate here as to the species:

On our walk back, we heard some strange noises that I thought sounded suspiciously owl-like. Sure enough, a moment later we got a brief glimpse of a barred owl (100), not a bad species to take the one hundredth spot on the year bird list. 

Yesterday I went down to Fourth of July Beach to do a COASST bird survey, and in the meantime hoped I would also see a shorebird species or two. Did I ever hit the jackpot! There were five shorebird species there: black-bellied plover (101), sanderling (102), dunlin (103), black turnstone (104), and surfbird (105). I saw a small flock of the first three species, then just before I left another larger flock flew in with more plovers, dunlin, and the turnstones and surfbirds. I was even able to get a photo with all five year birds in the same frame!

Blue = dunlin, orange = black turnstone, yellow = sanderling, green = surfbird, pink = black-bellied plover

This one shows four of them a little better - dunlin on the left with a black turnstone in front, then a surfbird by itself, then a black-bellied plover with another dunlin behind it:

I also noticed in my photos that one of the dunlin had a couple of bands on the legs (green and red on the left leg of the left dunlin). I wonder what this bird's story is?

Here's a black-bellied plover with a flock of dunlin:

On my way home the rain returned, but I couldn't resist pulling over to take a portrait of this guy:


ingrid said...

This is wonderful! I miss the shorebird flocks from back home (Bay Area) and simply haven't spent enough time out your way. What inspiration -- thank you.

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Following your impressive snowy owls pic you've now done it again with 5 year birds in one frame... WOW...I just can't compete!!!!

Your banded/flagged Dunlin is probbaly from the Alaskan Wader Study Group but you probably knew that already



Patricia Lichen said...

The 5-in-1 photo is great (thanks for the arrows!) but I do love that donkey pic!

Monika said...

Thanks for the comments everyone!

Dave - There's still the better part of 11 months left, so I think you'll come up with some amazing pictures too! I didn't know about the banded dunlin - thanks for the tip!

Anonymous said...

...great shots, what types of len's do you use?

J.C. Fernández-Ordóñez said...


Did you obtain banding information about tagged Dunlin?

Can I include your photos and tagging information at my blog about bandend/tagged birds in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean?

With the best wishes,

Juan Carlos

J.C. Fernández-Ordóñez said...

Birds with only a marker color and no code are generally part of a large group of cohorts (several birds banded in a like manner) and cannot be searched for as individuals. But, I will check for information.

With the best wishes,

Juan Carlos

Monika said...

I use a 70-300mm zoom lens.

JC - I did find somewhere to submit my tagging info, but haven't heard anything back as to whether or not it was helpful to them or if they were able to get any specific data on where/when the bird was tagged. You can definitely include my photo and tagging info on your blog (a credit would be much appreciated), and I would be very interested if you learned anything further or knew who might be interested in the information.