Thursday, August 9, 2012

mmmm, midges, mmmm

I couldn't find any shorebirds on the beach this morning.  I walked out on the pier to look at the cloud of swallows foraging in the lee of the lighthouse and discovered the reason why.  A large midge hatch covered the lighthouse with mosquito like bugs that the shorebirds were feeding on.  There were about 10 Semipalmated Sandpipers, probably as many as I've ever had at Tiscornia.

The above Semi was a pretty average looking one, but they're pretty variable.  Some of them are quite buffy in fresh juvenile plumage.

The next one (also quite buffy) has a remarkably dinky bill for a semi.

I think its bill is shorter than this Least's:

Finally a larger billed individual that in sunlight doesn't have any buffy tones.  It's bill is in that Semi group that starts to approach a Western's in length (but lacks the droop).  With its feathers sleeked tight in the heat it gives a longer legged look which also could make a person think Western.  Note the evenly scaled scapulars that lack much rufous in the upper ones or black anchor marks in the lower ones.

There were also my first juvenile Bonaparte's Gulls, Forster's Terns, and my first adult Common Tern flock of the fall.

Here's what the birds were feeding on.  Note the cutoff at the base of the lighthouse at about the max of a Sanderling's reach:

1 comment:

Cathy Carroll said...

Okay, perhaps it's just my eyesight, but the fourth photo of the Least Sandpiper is very cool. Looks like it's walking on a tightrope.