Saturday, August 8, 2009

Plymouth Beach-Saturday

I went out to Plymouth Beach with Alan today in hopes of getting some shore birds as well as the Black Skimmer and we were far from disappointed as you can see in the picture above which is a photo of the Black Skimmer (Lifer). We had walked three miles of the beach to find this bird in a location Alan was told it would be and sure enough, both he and his mate were there.
The bird would alternate between flying around the vicinity and landing to look around which I assume was to protect the eggs from the many gulls in the area.

Love the picture above but bummed over how I missed the top portion of its wing. Such a handsome bird the skimmers are. It was a real treat to see this bird as they are not that common.
The other Black Skimmer that appears to be sitting on its nest.

Another life bird for me and one on my target list for 2009 which is the Ruddy Turnstone (isn't that a cool name for a bird!). Love the color of these birds and the fact that they are not that shy so getting photos of them without a scope was not so bad.
Checkout the vivid orange on its legs and the striking black underneath its neck and on its breast.

We saw plenty of other shorebirds including this Semipalmated Plover walking along the shore. It was very interesting to observe these birds because they don't appear to be too afraid of people being on a public beach and all.

One of the most interesting things to see today were the many flocks of birds in which most were mixed flocks. Here we have a mixed flock of Short-billed Dowichers and Black-bellied Plover (Lifer).
Speaking of mixed flocks, how's this for a doozy! HA, and I thought Bolton Flats had impressive shorebird flocks but NOTHING in comparison to this. It was almost too much for the eyes and mind to digest all at once and you didn't know where to start. The majority of the mixed flocks had Semipalmated Sandpipers, Sanderlings, Short-billed Dowchichers, Ruddy Turnstones and a Semipalmited Plover thrown in for good measure.

Another shot. Check out some of the Sanderlings with the rust on their breast which indicates breeding plumage. There are also quite a few other birds mixed in the flocks but I will leave that to you to identify should you chose to just so you can get a feel for what a challenge large flocks such as these can be. ;o)

And yet another shot. I took like 80 similar photos. I just couldn't stop as it was like nothing I have ever experienced before.

One of my favorite shots of the day (you know how I love my gulls!). This Greater Black-backed Gull decides he wants to make his way down to the shoreline to see what's around for lunch and he confidently swaggers past the birds not even bothering to make eye contact with such mere mortals for he knows they will move out of his way (kind of like the parting of the sea!). All of the various shorebirds move out of his way at once as they instinctively know that it's best to stay out of its path.

An interesting flight shot I got as we were getting closer to the shoreline in which the birds were congregating.

I have more photos that I am going to save for early next week. I know, I know, I said I was going to cut down on my posting but didn't know I was going to hit the megabucks of birds today. I have many other birds to share with you including a whole post dedicated just to gulls with one of them being a lifer!

Take care all and have a great Sunday.


Robert V. Sobczak said...

That was quite a day ... mention of the term flock and gulls come to mind. I was told not to call the 'sea' gulls, ... but I always do.

Christopher said...

Sweet lifer and great photos!!!

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Great lifer!! I got my lifer Black Skimmer last fall at Cape May, NJ. A flock was resting on the beach. We moved VERY slowly and got quite close when a man with a dog jogged by and they all took flight. AMAZING!!

Kelly said...

Love that Black Skimmer! He's gorgeous.

Jayne said...

The Black Skimmer is so very handsome. Holy cow... the sheer number of seabirds there!

Chris Petrak said...

Skimmer is such a neat bird!! - and glad to know the shorebirds are coming through - I'm headed to the coast tomorrow. Love shorebirds, because you can have six species in a flock and they all look alike!!

John said...

Nice photos of the black skimmer. It's such an interesting species.

Andy said...

Goodness another place to put on my list :) WOW!
Where did you park at Plymouth? I think a vehicle needs a town sticker too.
Some lifer birds too for me, when I go ...Black Skimmer!

A New England Life said...

Amazing Kim!

So the Black Skimmer is still nesting? This late in the season? Are there many BS's in New England? It looks like a tropical bird!

Wonderful pictures!WOW!!! That inflight shot at the end is great!


Kim said...

Thanks all!! AND, according to MassBird, the Black Skimmers had a chick hatch today!! So hope they make it.

Andy, yes you do need a permit to park in the area but you can park out of the area (still have to pay $15), and then walk the three or so miles to where the terns are (mind you-you have to walk back too so that is 6 miles), so make sure you have water and other necessities. Also, wear sandles if you have them. I wore my new North Face sandles that have good traction and were perfect for the walk out there.

Good luck to both you and Chris on the shorebirds!

Kim said...

Sharson, I am not sure if these are the only Black Skimmers in NE. According to Mass Bird, some others flew in there today!!

dAwN said...

Hee Hee..the parting of the birds for the Greater black backed!
Awesome Lifers Kim! Yippee and high five! Do people still do high fives?
Awesome pics..sob sob.she sobs.I am going away from east coast!


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