Sunday, October 3, 2010

Shorebird Season

 Late summer and fall are the peak season for viewing shorebirds in many parts of North America. Many species that breed in North America journey from their arctic nesting grounds to winter here in the United States and all the way into South America, and then return to the Arctic the following spring. Some travel more than 15,000 miles in this annual circuit. Remember the whimbrel project?

A few weeks ago I got the opportunity to photograph a few of these birds along the coast of  North Carolina. Here are just a few I encountered. the the Semipalmated Plover. They breed along the sandy beaches of the tundra and winter along coastal California and the Carolinas south.


The word in their name "semipalmate" means having the front three toes partly webbed.


Look closely at this next photo and you can see the webbing between it's toes. (click the photo to enlarge)


Up next is the Ruddy Turnstone.


Ruddy Turnstones breed on coastal tundra in northwest Alaska and other islands of the Arctic. They winter in various areas along the US coast (east and west).


Another winter visitor is the Willet. Willets breed from central Canada to Northern California and winter further south along our coastlines.


Here they are feeding on some type of sand crab. A favorite food for may shorebirds.


Sanderlings are also popular here this time of year.


Sanderlings are long-distance migrants from the arctic. They often form in large flocks along mudflats and beaches. They are fun to watch as they are constantly bickering with each other.


If given the chance, get out and see what shore birds may be wintering in your area.

BirdFreak blog host Bird Photography Weekly on Sundays. Be sure to stop by their to see more interesting bird photos - and post yours there too!


Franja said...

estupendo reportaje! yo tb he estado fotografiandolos ultimamente

Andree said...

Thank you for a glimpse at birds I'll probably never see. And such perfect photographs! I love the crab-running photo!

mick said...

Great photos of some very interesting shorebirds. We see Ruddy Turnstones and Sanderlings here in SE Queensland,Australia in our summer but not the other ones you photographed.

Kelly said...

...interesting post and wonderful photos of the birds. I never connected semipalmated with the foot, but I should have!! Thanks for the tip.

Dawn Fine said...

nice post Alleny, Hope you are seeing lots of birdies this time of year.

The Zen Birdfeeder said...

Some really nice captures, Alan. Like that Ruddy Turnstone.

The Zen Birdfeeder said...

Some really nice captures, Alan. Like that Ruddy Turnstone.

Lana Gramlich said...

I grew up & lived most of my life on or around beaches of one kind or another. 7 years ago I moved to the swamps & marshes of S. Louisiana--not a beach in sight. I miss the shore birds (& dare I say it, even the seagulls.) Thanks for bringing back some happy memories. :)

Larry said...

Great shots of all the shorebirds Alan! That photo of the Willet with the crab in its beak is exceptional!

Anonymous said...

Sweet birdies. I love the ocean view behind them too. Thanks.~~Dee

April Lorier said...

I learned a new word today, thanks to you, Mr. Smiley! Thanks!
Your photos are wonderful... maybe you could paint the Willet?

FAB said...

Nice selection of waders Alan.

TJ AND ALIA said...

Ooohh I love birds. This is a cool site. I am a postcards collector and postcards of birds are one of the themes that I collect.

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

I always learn something new when I read your blog. Thanks!

Vanessa Mickan said...

What beautiful crisp shots.