Monday, October 20, 2014

A Good Week for Birds at Ft. Fisher

I headed down to the boat ramp at Ft, Fisher at low tide one morning this week.  So far this  year, I had basically not seen anything but a couple of egrets and earlier some terns.  The parking lot was full of boats and cars so I didn't expect much.  I saw another birder with a camera watching a flock of what looked like Sanderlings from a distance.  I decided to stop and see what the fuss was.  Imagine my surprise when the flock turned out to be Short-billed Dowitchers and there had to be 50 of them. Among them stood two lovely Marbled Godwits which you can see toward the left.  Of course the weather has been gorgeous, the sun was behind me and there was the beautiful blue reflection  You can see all the variation in color here although the same birds

All the Dowitchers standing at attention as more boats came.  They were sleeping most of the time.

You can see a Willet here in the crowd.  Just added the picture so you can see the differences in sizes.  The Dowitchers have yellow legs like the Yellowlegs but are smaller and not as elegant.  I never seem to identify them immediately thinking they are some kind of Sandpiper

This one seemed to have some of his summer color -- the buffy breast.

This Dowitcher was taking a bath between feedings

A closeup of the Marbled Godwit.  This is the earliest I have seen them and the first time up on the beach.

I liked this picture of the two of them together and this may end up in a quilt at some point

The second morning there were not as many of the Dowitchers but I spotted this Semi-palmated Plover.  He blended in so well, it was only when he moved that I noticed him.  I have seen these down here before but rarely on a day when the light was so good for a picture!

I introduced myself to the other photographer when we were both leaving (more boats had scared away the flock) and he had gotten some great pictures of the elusive Clapper Rail and says he lives in the reeds nearby so maybe I will get a better look this winter at some point.  They are pretty shy.

It was nice to see my first Oystercatcher of the season!!  I can't get enough of this beautiful 
bird.  You can see his size as compared to the Dowitcher in front of him.

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