|Returning to Newburyport harbor|
On Sandy Point we came upon a row of birders with telescopes who were searching for the BlackSkimmers that had been reported in the area but had not been seen for the past couple of hours. We were in luck in that the tide was going out exposing the mudflats and tidal pools where a flock of birds was feeding. Watching me photograph these birds would be boring for my nephew but I held out the promise of a meal at the fabulous Plum Island Grille. He stayed on the beach while I slowly made my way across dried mud toward the birds.
|Black-bellied Plovers and a Semipalmated Sandpiper|
Black-bellied Plovers and a Short-billed Dowitcher .
The majority turned out to be Black-bellied Plovers. Their plumage varies greatly by age from speckled gray and white in the juveniles to solid black from throat to upper belly in the adult male with silvery speckles on a dark back. In winter they molt into a nondescript ashy gray, only easily recognizable by their black axillaries.
|Black-bellied Plover showing black axillaries|
|Short-billed Dowitcher and female adult Black-bellied Plover|
|Juvenile Black-bellied Plover|
|Adult female in front showing white intermixed with black on upper belly, chest and neck|
|Adult male Black-bellied Plover|