Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Some cool beach birds...

During migration, I like to hit the beach at the local reservoir in the early morning to see what birds are moving through. I go at the first hint of daylight and leave when the people start to show up.

There has been quite a few birds around the south beach at East Fork State Park. I have had all the regularly occurring terns that one would expect to see here during migration - Black, Common, Forster's, and Caspian.

Here, a Caspian Tern flies into the beach.

Caspian Tern in flight

The Caspian decided to land in front of where I was standing.

(Looks like it has a carrot for a beak!)

Caspian Tern

Here is a Juvenile Common Tern. Notice the thinner bill, dark carpel bar and hood that is not split.

Juv. Common Tern

Also, been seeing a good variety of shorebirds. The beach at East Fork is about the only local spot (less than a 1 hour drive) to see shorebirds around here when water is not low.

Here is a little Semipalmated Plover. Sooo cute!

Semipalmated Plover

Also, there was this pair of shorebirds pictured below. The one I IDed as a Least Sandpiper immediately. The other one gave me fits. I originally IDed it as a Semipalmated Sandpiper, but the odd leg coloration gave me fits (legs should be black, not orange. I will have more of this bird and its ID in a later post.)

Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers
Least and Odd Sandpiper

Below is a juvenile Sanderling from today. The orange legged bird in the picture above was suggested by a few to be a Sanderling. The bird above is a juvenile, but as you can see, it is not a Sanderling. (Notice that the Sanderling has no hind toe, which enables it to run back and forth chasing waves on the beach.)

Juv. Sanderling

The Sanderling was not afraid of me at all and came to within a foot. It was comical to watch the bird poke at the sand castles that were on the beach. The bird even knocked a few down!

Sanderling among sand castles
Sanderling poking in sand castles

There was some more cool birds in the woods that border the beach. I often hear Yellow-billed Cuckoos here, but I don't get to see them much. This bird was just sitting out in the open!

Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Also, lots of Cedar Waxwings. Always love the waxywings!

Cedar Waxwing
Disgruntled Cedar Waxwing

And, as I was watching the beach birds, an adult Bald Eagle flew by scattering everthing. Here is a fast, far away shot of it. It also dove and caught a fish, but I didn't get it on camera.

Adult Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle



  1. Wonderful post. You sure do get a variety of birds. Great photos all. I am envious of the little guy coming within a foot of you.

  2. What an amazing day on the beach. That bald eagle was in full flight wasn't it. The bird crushing the sand castle was like some campy sci-fi, really cool!

  3. Lovely images of your beautiful birds..wonderful!

  4. Anonymous2:51 PM

    Is the odd sandpiper a ruff?

  5. Beautiful photos Donald. Nice shots of the Terns and that Sanderling is the cutest! I have yet to see a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, thanks for including that one, and I'm sorry I can't help with the ID of your mystery pip.

  6. We like your description of the carrot mouth on the caspian. It certainly made us look twice:) Sounds like it was a nice day at the beach.

  7. Very cool beach birds indeed! Adam @ My Life Outside

  8. beautiful collection of photos was that bubbles along the beach it almost looks ice-like

  9. Oh my gosh, you see all the good birds, Donald! I need to go birding with you out there... Great photos!