I arrived at 6:30 am, and was delighted to find that I was the first one there. The first birds I encountered on the way in were not shorebirds at all. This is a photo of one out of a group of about 20 Monk Parakeets. I will say that they are pretty noisy birds-"Polly Want A Cracker?"As I stated in another post, some of these birds have been euthanized because they build too many giant nests in unwanted areas (like the top of telephone poles). I'm not sure what to make of that issue. As I walked out to the point, there were a number of Plovers within close view. Most of them were Semipalmated Plovers. They have some similarities to a Killdeer but have only a single dark breastband compared to tow on the Killdeer.They are also smaller, and have yellowish legs-(Killdeer have pinkish legs). I also saw Piping Plover which are very light in color, and only a partial breastband-(I'm looking over, a Piping Plover-which I overlooked before)-.There were a number of Black-bellied Plovers as well which can be confusing because their plumage color goes through many stages. Some of the other birds that I saw were: Ruddy Turnstones, American Oystercatchers, Sanderlings, Semipalmated Sandpipers, and Spotted Sandpipers. I spent a lot of time looking at individual birds, so that I really didn't build up a big species list.
While I am not very confident with my ability to identify shorebirds, I was pleased to know that I'm not completely clueless as I was last year. Over time, I'm sure that I my shorebirding skills will eventually improve.
This is the first year that I've looked at Terns through binoculars. So far, I've only identified Common Terns . I don't think the title common fits them. They're actually very elegant looking birds. I am looking forward to seeing other species of Tern in the future.
After spending a couple of hours watching birds, I saw a group of about 10 birders approach. Each with their own spotting scope. They waved politely as they passed by, but didn't seem interested in making conversation. I was hoping that I could pick up some tips from some of the more experienced birders, but decided this was not the appropriate time. As I headed back, I realized that the tide had come up to the point that I wouldn't be able to avoid getting my feet wet. Oh well, it was worth it anyway. I ran in to a few more birders on the way out. One of them was an 80 year old gentleman that I had run into a few times in the past (god bless him-he's still going stronger than ever). I chatted with them about what I had seen, and they shared some information about the shorebirds in the area with me. Shorebirding still isn't my preferred type of birding, but I think it may be growing on me just a little bit.