The Dunlins' summer plumage while on migration to their arctic breeding grounds was strikingly different from their familiar dull winter plumage. Only the drooping bill with its wilting tip looked the same.
They were sporting a rufous cap and a bright rufous back. In addition they stood out by a sharply defined black patch on their belly, making them very conspicuous among the pale-bellied shorebirds. I wonder, since everything has to have a reason, what's the advantage of having a black underside?
It is easier to understand the dramatic, and confusing, coloration of the Ruddy Turnstones, shown here with several Short-billed Dowitchers and a Sanderling: it makes them blend in with the pebbles of the shore.
Short-billed Dowitcher above, compare to the slightly smaller Lesser Yellowlegs below.
Some locations were made intolerable by the dense clouds of gnats that materialized within a couple of minutes of our arrival. Pete Dunne, our guide on several trips, was wearing an ingeniously constructed, airy, and bug-proof: The Original Bug Shirt on sale at the Cape May Bird Observatory. I decided I had to have one too. Although a little late on this trip, I will find a useful during black fly season in Vermont, or when exploring swampy, mosquito-infested areas, such as the heron rookery below.
In closing a photo of a Boat-tailed Grackle, amusing and noisy coastal inhabitant. Happy Birding!
Great shots!Have a great day!ReplyDelete
a great selection of shorebirds. maybe the dark underbelly cuts the glare on the water - sort of like the black eye paint on football players. :)ReplyDelete
Good try, Theresa. Can't quite see how that would work out. Maybe it protects them from aggressor from below, but they don't do a lot of floating.Delete
A terrific series of shots!ReplyDelete
Great series!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.ReplyDelete
Charming! NOthing beats shorebirds in the summer time! If this is you scraping the bottom of the barrel, you must have a great spatula or something, cause this post is still loaded with great stuff!ReplyDelete
Great wader shots. The summer plumage Dunlins are fantastic little birds. Nice Yellow Legs too.ReplyDelete
Great photos of all the shorebirds. There are several there that we don't see down here in the southern hemisphere.ReplyDelete
Great shots! Perfect post for WBW!ReplyDelete
So many Texans do not like the grackles, but I sure do...love their song and love to watch them with the care of their fledglings too. All your photos are so very striking!!!ReplyDelete
Another wonderful post Hilke...packed with information and of course your stunning images.ReplyDelete
Great post, Hilke! I love all the shorebirds, especially the Dunlins with their black bellies.ReplyDelete
Wonderful commentary and comparisons of the shorebirds.ReplyDelete
Great pictures you show. Wishing you a good day :)ReplyDelete
Hi there - splendid set of pictures. Maybe the black is selected by females - that darker the patch, the more healthy the male - rather like the display on a peacocks tail.ReplyDelete
Stewart M - Australia
Some amazing and artistic shots. It sounds like you had fun in spite of the bugs! So...are you going to model that new shirt for us?ReplyDelete
Thanks, Kathie. No modelling for me though.ReplyDelete
Cracker, all of them are so pretty, tne Ruddy Turnstones gets my vote, superb.ReplyDelete
Wow excellent Hilke! Love this bog flock of waders... I've never seen a short-billed dowitcher, that would be a nice addition to my bird list ;-)ReplyDelete
What a wonderful collection of shorebirds it looks like you got to see lots of variety onm your trip.
These are all just splendid!!ReplyDelete
Beautiful shots of all the shorebirds. I particularly like the Ruddy Turnstones and am also curious about the black belly patch on the Dunlins. What's that all about? I've obviously never seen them in breeding plumage.ReplyDelete
All are wonderful shots of these shorebirds, most of which are on my list of birds I still want to see in person. :))ReplyDelete