Sunday, February 17, 2008

Marvin's Photos: Shorebirds of Alaska

It's a flood day in the Ozarks, and my mind has turned to shorebirds. The rain swollen fields of Palmetto would be crawling with plovers, peeps, and plenty more if this much rain would fall in a few short weeks. We await the American Golden Plovers that arrive at the end of March, and the many other shorebirds that follow throughout April and May.

So, if it rains, and only if it rains, they will come! So far, the precipitation is above normal. If this trend continues, it should be a great spring for shorebirds in our neck of the wo...... uh, fields.

So, to get you and me in the mood, here are a few photographs that Marvin DeJong took last spring in Alaska. All photos are used with his permission.








12 comments:

marvin d said...

Thanks Greg. If you didn't post these pictures they would sit on my computer as a set of 1s and 0s and no one would be able to appreciate them. I appreciate your work in putting your blog together.
Marvin

Greg said...

Marv,
My pleasure..... These are wonderful pictures. I had a hard time deciding between so many excellent choices. That first Spotty just knocks my socks off, and I've love to see the Least and Western that well this spring!

My blog would be hurting without your photos.....

Thanks for sharing,
Greg

N8 said...

I had to take a second look at that Least, the plumage is so fresh. I'm not used to seeing them like that.

noflickster said...

Since I hardly ever see breeding-plumaged shorebirds I really enjoyed these photos. After this season's gull-immersion I'm excited to get into shorebirds when they pass through NY. Quick ID question: are there Rock Sandpipers mixed in with the Black Turnstones in flight? As well as a couple peeking in the back corner of the turnstones on the rocks? Just curious if you happen to know.
-Mike

N8 said...

Hmmmm, you're right, Mike. They certainly seem to be.

Greg said...

Thanks again, Nathan, for being my expert advisor!
Good spots, Mike!

marvin d said...

What I noticed in Alaska was that there were almost always Surfbirds mixed in with the Black Turnstones. I could never get a picture of a Surfbird alone, in fact. Indeed, on the rock, the other bird does look like a Rock Sandpiper. I never would have noticed.
Marv

marvin d said...

I chased that pair of Spotted Sandpipers up and down the beach, never getting a good shot on what was a pretty cloudy day. After I gave up, they landed right in front of me on that rock, and I took a couple of pictures while they posed. That first Spotted picture is one of my favorites.
Marv

noflickster said...

Thanks for following up on the ID of the "rockpipers." A Rock Sandpiper (isn't that name an oxymoron?) would be a lifer, I'm feeling a bit smug having picked one out . . .
:-)

The Spotted Sandpiper shots are fantastic, the first one really brings out the "inquisitive" nature they sometimes exhibit (in my very anthropomorphic view).
- Mike

Greg said...

I really appreciate the expertise and experiences of all of you. Up until yesterday, I hadn't opened my Sibley guide to study the differences between Rock Sandpipers and Surfbirds. Now, I'm fairly confident that I could make the call easily..... I wonder if I'd call a Rock Sandpiper a Dunlin though.... Hmmmm....

N8 said...

Rocks are the western version of Purples as far as I can tell. If they're anything like them, you'd never find Rocks and Dunlin in the same type of habitat.

noflickster said...

My experience is that if you get a decent look, then separating Dunlin and Rocks (or, in my case, Dunlin and Purples) is pretty obvious. Like N8 said, habitat pretty well segregates them, and their 'giss' goes a long way, too. I liken them to Purple and House Finches: I wondered if I would be able to pick out a Purple Finch when I only knew it from field guides. When I saw one in real life, totally different than House Finches!
-Mike