Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Three Lifers in a Mud Puddle




Yes, three life birds, all locally rare species, congregating in a puddle in a cornfield: JoAnne Russo of Vermont Green Threads alerted me to it with a message on Facebook  (Thanks, JoAnne)  It took me three days and  three different trips though to get a good set of pictures. Lucky for me the birds stayed around. The third was my lucky day because this time the  American Golden Plover, that I had missed on the first two days, showed up.


He was the star of the show, a juvenile American Golden Plover, still showing the gold speckling on his rump. He is a transient visitor migrating from the northern tundra to his wintering grounds in South America. Most migrate through the Great Plains but a a few show up in the Northeast.




Also present that day were two Black-bellied Plovers which are much more common here




The other star of the show was a Stilt Sandpiper. It too was a life bird for me; I  had just missed it at Sterling Peats during fall migration last year. It was an adult in non-breeding plumage, mostly gray on top. The species breeds in subarctic areas and migrates to the interior of South America. It prefers pools or lagunes to tidal mudflats, and therefore the bird must have felt quite at home in this mud puddle.




From a distance, with their long yellowish legs, they are easily confused with  Lesser Yellowlegs but for their long drooping bill.







The Dunlin was my third lifer. Here in this photo the Dunlin is on the left and Stilt Sandpiper on the right. They are very similar in size, but the Dunlin is much stockier with a thicker bill. 






I had seen White-rumped Sandpipers on the coast on Plum Island before but they are not often seen inland during their long-distance migration from the Canadian Arctic to Patagonia. 



Three White-rumps preening, showing their white rumps


There were several Pectoral Sandpipers in the crowd. The following two photos show the sharp pectoral demarcation that gives the sandpiper its name.






And lastly  there were several Killdeer. They are so ubiquitous that it's easy to overlook them.



We have been having beautiful summer-like weather.The mud puddle is drying up, getting smaller by the day. In the morning it's been quite foggy, but it burns off by 10 AM. On a foggy field Canada Geese are fattening up before migration. Actually they don't migrate very far, flying just a little south of here to the lush golf courses in Connecticut.



Farm stores are busy selling local produce.





Cheers!

Thanks for visiting! Please leave comment.


30 comments:

  1. love the ripples in the water surrounding the shorebirds. and that gold on the first plover - how pretty!

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  2. Great series Hilke. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  3. Beautiful images of your wonderful birds Hilke..the first plover shot is a real gem.
    I love thwe Killdeer so like our Ringed Plovers.
    A lovely rustic farm shop... thats how I like to do my shopping.

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  4. Most of your photos are just brilliant.
    Regards
    Leena

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  5. what a day 3 LIFERS!

    I bet this will live long in the memory.

    Very well done

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  6. Beautiful photos of all those shorebirds. I wish I could see them all as I only see Black-bellied Plovers out here - which we know as Grey Plovers.

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  7. Hilke, congrats on all your new lifers. They are great birds. I would love to see the American Golden PLover.

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  8. Great day indeed! I'll bet your head was spinning! Thanks for school on some of the finer points in identifying these shorebirds. I simply can not get over the treks these astounding animals take every year. The sub polar region of the arctic must be something during the summer. Lets go!

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  9. You never know what will show up. That is what makes looking so much fun. Three lifers in a day close to home is always nice.

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  10. Hi there - very nice post. Its strange the places birds stay in! I suppose that they really liked their puddle!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Australia

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  11. Love them all as well as the local farm:)
    Hugs
    Joo

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  12. Thanks for your great comments! I don't think I'll have a day like that again, unless of course I get a chance to visit the SW Texas Birding Trail. The subarctic tundra is summer home to many of the shorebirds, and I'd love to go there, Springman, were it not for the giant mosquitoes :-(

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  13. Hi Hilke,
    Well done on these three lifers, it is all the time nice to see new birds ;-) I could have seen hem too over here, especially American golden plover which are often present in winter on the south coast but I did not manage to go there :-) There are still some around so maybe one day I'll see them. Beautiful collection of pictures

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  14. Hi Hilke

    What a great collection of shorebirds. And three lifers in one spot, wow I bet you were pretty excited.

    All the best.
    Guy

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  15. Wowza, three lifers! Congrats!! I'd love to see the Stilt Sandpiper too!

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  16. Lovely shorebirds, you can't beat it!

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  17. Congrats on the three lifers! This is a great collection of shorebirds - the Pectoral Sandpiper is an impressive bird. The photo of the Canada Geese looks like a lovely painting.

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  18. Beautiful photos of the plovers, sandpipers, and dunlin! We don't get to see shorebirds like that here. Congrats on the lifers! Thank you for visiting my blog! I appreciate it!

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  19. Hi Hilke I like your photos wish I could do birding somewhere but don't have anybody to go with me, hehe. And also do we need to have a zooming lens to get these beautiful shots? I like watching birds they are gorgeous creatures and they can sing too ^_^ Thanks for the visit!

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  20. Hilke, Congrats on your 3 new additions to your Life List. I enjoyed your photos of the cool birds and the yummy looking produce.

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  21. lol, I had to smile when I saw your headline. That is sooo great. To find some lifers in a mudpuddle. Congrats is in order I believe. :)

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  22. Stunning photography and the gold on the plover is like Lassiter's reef.Congrats on so many life birds,what a gold-mine of a puddle.
    Great reflections in some of those shots as well.
    Thank you for this glorious post, not to mention that lovely shot of the Canada geese in the fog.

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  23. That's a hell of a puddle. Some really spectacular birds there. That Canada Goose painting is really nice.

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  24. Oh the joy of a mud puddle! Congratulations on the three life birds! Love the American Golden Plover image. The gold feathers are stunning. So many wonderful shorebird photographs to view in this terrific post! Sounds and looks like you had a glorious day of birding at the puddle.

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  25. Great golden plover photo! Congrats on the lifers.

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  26. Hi Hilke! thanks for the PR! 3 lifers in one small puddle! how great is that! wish every day was like this.

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