Friday, December 16, 2011

Sanderlings, Parker River NWR, Plum Island, MA

A lone Sanderling feeding amongst the rocks at Sandy Point, Plum Island, MA; 11/11/2011.
A month ago, I had the pleasure of witnessing a grain of Sanderlings playing and feeding in the waves off of Sandy Point on Plum Island in Massachusetts. The Sanderling (Above) was a bit unusual to be on its own as they are more often found in medium to large flocks (or "grains" as would tell you ... ). 

The rock-strewn beach at Sandy Point on the southern tip of Plum Island was a great place to find sea and shorebirds, Massachusetts; 11/11/2011.
Sanderlings are among one of the worlds most distributed shorebirds as they can be found in five continents (Europe, Asia, Africa, and both North & South America). In the our continent they will be found in extreme northern Canada and in the Arctic Circle during the summer months. In winter they will migrate south and will put up residence along both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts on sandy beaches which produce lots of oceanic wave action.
Sanderlings flying over the Atlantic scouting out beaches to aid their feeding frenzy, Plum Island, Massachusetts; 11/11/2011.
A pair of Sanderlings flying over the Sandy Point Beach, Plum Island, Massachusetts; 11/11/2011.
This late in the year, Sanderlings will already be in their non-breeding plumage (Above), mostly white underneath with pale gray back, tail and crown, and a darker shoulder and tips of its primaries with a broad white stripe which can be seen when in flight (Above two pics). Because they spend their summer months in the Arctic, we very seldom get to see their wonderfully colorful reddish breeding plumage.

Val's late evening photo of a grain of Sanderlings in full breeding plumage, Pistol River Beach, Oregon; 7/13/2007
A few summers ago (well before I became more serious about bird photography) while Val and I were exploring the beautiful Oregon Coast and taking photos of a gorgeous sunset (Below), Val was fascinated by a small flock of sandpipers chasing waves in and out and she took some pics (Above). These happened to be Sanderlings in their breeding plumage, with reddish heads and wings giving way to a mottled gray and red near their primaries. This reddish color was beautifully contrasted by their white bellies and underneath the tails.

Tomorrow, I will feature a few photos of these fun birds chasing waves.

As the Sanderlings were chasing waves, Val and I were chasing sunsets, Pistol River Viewpoint, Oregon; 7/13/2007.

No comments: