Saturday, June 25, 2011

same willet, different day

Rainy Friday continued...

Late in the afternoon, the rain let up and I was suffering severe shorebird withdrawal from being rained out of working the south boundary this morning.  So, I took a quick trip to the refuge. Of course, the rain hadn't really stopped ...

I paused at the North Pool Overlook to check for bobolinks because I have not seen nearly enough bobolinks this year and I need my summer dose of them. While there I had a great far-ranging conversation with a visitor from Holland about everything from managing wild areas for the wildlife vs. managing them for people to how big storms bring red phalaropes and how upscale Plum Island has gotten since his last visit 20 years ago. From the overlook, I spotted the official willet of the town marker. Same willet, different day. Misty rain plus digital zoom made for a really atmospheric shot of the willet. I think I nailed the feeling.
Willet on Town Marker in the Rain
I walked along the Sandy Point Beach past the Least Tern colony. There was much courtship behavior. Zillions of least terns were giving each other small fish. I tried to stay as far from the colony as I could without being in the water. Big waves, high tide, noisy terns, rain ... very New England.
Least Tern
A first year Great Black Back busy eating what was left of a dead fish snapped at a Least Tern in flight multiple times. I tried to get a photo but both the gull and the tern were moving too fast. The tern escaped repeatedly and then finally gave up buzzing the gull.
Dining Al Fresco in the Rain
Bonaparte's Gulls (62 or more) were hanging out in the wrack. They really do act like shorebirds. I didn't see any Little Gulls among them but it was getting harder and harder to see with the rain coating both the binoculars and my glasses.

Bonaparte's Gulls in the Wrack
A big flock of Common Terns (about 45) was resting on the sand near the tip of Sandy Point. I think I examined every one in detail in the hopes of finding an Arctic Tern with no luck. A pair of Common Terns were copulating on the beach. Isn't it a little late for that?

Common Terns
Just beyond the Common Terns I spotted a small flock of Black-bellied Plovers and four Piping Plovers. Invisi-birds sighted - day complete. Another invisi-bird landed on the beach in front of me as I was walking back the the parking lot.

And to think, I was originally going to write about flowers today.

Dead Fish in the Rain

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