Friday, November 12, 2010

Turnstone Ruddy & His Sanderling Buddy

I arrived at Hammonasset Saturday in time to see the last glimpse of sun before it disappeared behind the clouds. I started the day by walking along the trails on Cedar Island hoping I might find an owl tucked away in one of the cedars. Twice I flushed a bird that might have been a small owl but couldn't relocate it. In the nature center parking lot there were Black-bellied Plovers, Dunlin, and a few peeps rambling around. I took a few photos but the birds seemed to disappear into the pale grass and gravel background.
I worked my way over to Meig's Point where I found a flock of about 30 Sanderlings. They were running along the tide line picking out morsels of food and at the same time trying to avoid getting clobbered by the waves. It seems like they've had plenty of practice. It find it interesting that they don't have a backward facing toe like the other Sandpipers do. I was curious as to why some individual birds go off on their own to look for food away from the rest of the flock. Are they outcasts? loners? or just picky about where they get their seafood? I was kneeling in the sand wearing my light grey pants trying to move in for a closer look. I must have looked like an over-sized Sanderling because they didn't seem very concerned by my presence.

There were also a couple of Ruddy Turnstones in the area. They really do turn stones to search for food sometimes.
Turnstone Ruddy and his Sanderling buddy
went walking near the shore side by side
they had breakfast by the sea..
but then they had to flee...
as any lunch would soon be swallowed by the tide-
- --
I went to Hammonasset because there is always the possibility of finding a rare or uncommon species there. Instead, I spent the morning watching common shorebirds, but that was a conscious decision. My philosophy about birding right now is to do whatever feels right at the time and not to worry about what I could or should be doing. It seems that I'm more observant if I follow this approach instead of following the same pattern every time. Watching these birds as they searched for food
was a nice change of pace from the usual seek and identify mode.
click to play
Here's some footage of the turnstone in action. You may want to turn your speakers down a bit because there was quite a bit of wind that day.


Chris said...

These two fellows look like good friend and gave you the opportunity of beautiful pictures Larry. Well done. The snow has reached us again this morning :-)

Larry said...

Chris-that's one thing that I like about shorebirds. Sometimes you can view them up close without scaring them off if they're hungry enough.I just wish that I had a bit of sun that day.

Jen Sanford said...

Oooh nice turnstones!

Dan Huber said...

wonderful post and photos Larry - looks like a great day


troutbirder said...

Oh I do enjoy seeing the shorebirds. We have absolutely no habitat for them here in the southeast corner of Minn.

Erica Houskeeper said...

I'm glad they didn't mind you hanging out and taking photos! You capture some really nice images here. Also, I love the question you raise about why some birds go off on their own. Your curiosity is inspiring!

Kathie Brown said...

It is my plan to come to CT and visit Hammonasset again. I have only been there once! I would love to see a turnstone! Nice video of the bird in action. I like your philosophy. I find I can get so caught up in counting species that I forget to stop and enjoy the birds but I have ben getting better at it once again.

BTW, did you write that poem? It is cute and creative!

Larry said...

Kathiebirds-Nothing wrong with listing-it's whatever you enjoy that counts-(no pun intended)-yes thanks-I wrote the little poem or whatever you might call it.Just wanted to come up with a rhyme that fit what I saw.

Unknown said...

I really like Meigs Point; especially in the offseason

Larry said...

mathew-Offseasons better but if you go on a weekday morning in the summer it's not too bad.