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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

RISD Beach, Barrington, RI _ June/01/2012 _ 2:05-3:13pm _ Sunny 83'

The sand crunched beneath our feet as we made our way down the beach. Today was the first of June and I was desperately trying to bring my eBird month list up to the month of May's numbers (141 submitted checllists of at least 150 species).
I had already found a few nice birds including the usual “Semi's” of both families: Sandpipers and Plovers, a few Least Sandpipers, a Black-bellied Plover, a couple o' Killdeer and a year bird White-rumped Sandpiper (the first one I have seen in breeding plumage!).
A Green Heron
I spotted a Killdeer perched on the bank of a stream that flowed from the bay into the marsh with the incoming tide. I tried to snap of a few photos of it but my shutter-pressing finger was outpaced by the bird's wings which eased it into the air. 

We continued down the beach scanning the water of the Narragansett waiting for a Common Tern to whiz by. Our scanning of the waves was quite rudely interrupted by screams only feet from our feet. “Killdeer-killdeer” said the black-necklaced bird eying us from below. It was the same Killdeer whom we had seen on the bank of the stream. It was quite obvious that this bird was nesting somewhere quite close by. Photographic interests possessed me and I hunkered down and was able to take some eye-level shots of the bird. I didn't even need to zoom in (although I did so anyway). After taking a few amazing shots (if I do say so myself) I backed off a little way as did the bird    who retreated back a few birdy-paces to it's nest on the barely discernible mini-dunes. 
Peering at the bird from a more reasonable distance, taking a good long squint at this beautiful creation, I was able to make out four rock colored eggs sandwiched in between her grey legs.

The Killdeer

See her four eggs?

I can only pray that an unsuspecting beachcomber doesn't turn this vunerable scratch in the sand into a pan for sun frying squished eggs.
White-rumped Sandpiper

A Saltmarsh Sparrow
Upon returning back down the beach it was with amazement that I saw the small flock of shorebirds fly-in. It was the largest gathering of White-rumped Sandpipers I had ever seen, in addition to the WRSA who continued its wild poking of the marsh, they evened out to a smart "time-step" (look it up) of ten. Adding to that they were extremely tame, as many shorebirds in a flock often are. I was able to get to within 6-feet (more or less) to the handsome birds. What an awesome way to end a walk - ten White-rumps; any one of which I would have been quite pleased to find on any given day!

I ended the walk with 33 species although I did miss some quite common species like Common Tern, it seems to me that my average number for a list is ever rising. Last year at this time I would have been quite proud of myself for hitting this number in a single walk as usually at that time my list would tended to hover around 23 species. Now 33 is common. I believe it is mainly due to my new and improved ear birding skills.
I think that spending the month of May walking with the mighty experienced ones at Swan Point really helped me learn the songs. They are able to pick out a Waterthrush a mile away despite their constant moaning about their collective deafness. I am still trying to hear the Black-throated Blue which can call from the bushes an arms length away.


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  2. John: Great photos! The shot of the Killdeer nest is amazing!


  3. nice posting.. thanks for sharing.