Thursday, September 28, 2017

Terns near the Saltmarsh

     I went into work late yesterday (and doing so again today- due to later events) and went to Plumb Beach in hopes of seeing the royal terns. They are so large and beautiful- I really think I am a fan of larger birds. I saw low tide was early- it just panned out perfectly.
     The air was thick- the humidity was relentless. Even with an overcast sky, it still felt so sticky and unpleasant. But, the views were anything but...
There is always a mockingbird at Plumb ready to give you "the eye."

Not much action in the marsh- but out on the sandbars, while stationary for some time, I counted 21 royal terns.

These birds are no stranger to the area- although they come up as rare- they do breed in the North East and spend the summer in other parts. But during migration it is not completely rare to see them gathering up together on the mud flats at low tide on Plumb Beach.

Larger than your common or Forster's tern- these guys are pretty unmistakable with that heavy orange bill- large, but slender body and that shaggy crest.

I noticed slight differences in bill coloration- I am thinking this is seasonal as we transition into winter plumage and out of breeding.

One of these terns sticks out a bit, right? Yellow legs marks an immature bird. With age they will turn black.

Very cool to see these guys. Already feeling pretty satisfied.

Speaking of satisfying- I bet that gull is having a really yummy meal-- no one is harassing it, just crackin' open a clam and chowin' down.

Oh, why hello there, Saltmarsh Sparrow! This was a nice sight- but a quick one.

Watched some of the egrets fly in/out of the salt marsh- maybe hoping to spot one last clapper rail before they are completely out.

To think, these were nearly hunted to extinction, snowy egrets-- just so people can wear their feathers on their hats. This is why we can't have nice things.

Saw 2 very gorgeous savannah sparrows- nice and yellow!

Saw a second saltmarsh sparrow-- but this 3rd one-- ultra cooperative in not just popping up and popping right back down again.

AND, extra bonus-- right in the open!

Overcast skies- flitty little bird- this is called "keep as still as you can in low light with your 300lb camera and no pod and jack up the zoom as much as you can." 
Literally, birding was the best part of my day. Glad I went out!

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