After the dramatic photographs of the snowy owl, the dueling bald eagles, and the fierce osprey, even the hooded merganser looks drab in comparison. Matter of fact, he will be the most colorful of the birds in this post. These were all photographed on the same day as the previously mentioned “charismatic megafauna.”
These shorebirds are wearing their drab winter plumage, which makes them a challenge to identify for me. I prefer not to have to resort to an hour of research between my two fave birdbooks (Peterson’s and National Wildlife Federation) and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website. But I think I pegged the ID – if I’m wrong, please let me know.
There were three basic sizes of these drab birds. This one was in the middle range, and obviously a plover because of the bill.
The black “wingpit” visible in flight was the distinguishing characteristic that let me zero in on this bird.
The shorebirds were at the Huguenot Memorial Park east of Jacksonville. The lighting was equally bland, but at least I wasn’t fighting harsh shadows and blown highlights.
I love these guys. Sanderlings are in the midget size.
And the lone willet was the largest of the shorebirds there.
The ducks were in the little pond in the south section of the Little Talbot Island State Park. A USFWS friend working at Anahuac NWR in Texas has an interesting story about these ducks. They are only allowed to be hunted on certain days there, and a pair of fellows inadvertently shot two in November before they were “legal” and had to fork over a $1,000 fine for each bird!
I just had to close with a little color!
Photos and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre
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