Birder's Eye View

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

"Magnificent" birding

I went birding today, somewhat spontaneously and somewhat unexpectedly, so I was somewhat underprepared. But I had my camera with me, and that was *almost* as good as my binoculars.

So why was this birding trip "magnificent?" Take a look at the picture below:

One of the first birds I saw was a Magnificent Frigatebird flying out over the dock on the beach! That's a lifer for me. At first glance, I thought it was a Swallow-tail Kite, but I couldn't figure out why it was black. However, my mom identified it almost immediately as a Frigatebird! (Yay mom!)

Also got some cool pictures of Brown Pelicans...

... And Laughing Gulls. There were tons of them at the beach.

And then I saw this little guy (above). Yet ANOTHER life bird -- A Ruddy Turnstone!

There were so many of them all running around in the waves and hanging out with the gulls and terns.

Above is a Royal Tern; there were several of them chillin' on the beach. I had never seen one so close before; you could literally walk right up to them.

And a year bird -- a Least Tern. When I was taking this photo, I was standing near a bunch of rocks by the edge of the water. I had my eye up to the camera, so I failed to see an enormous wave crash against the rocks. The next thing I knew, I was half-soaked and my camera (my beloved camera!!) was also wet. At least I got the picture though.

Above is a photo of two Royal Terns and behind them, three Ruddy Turnstones. Kind of cool.

A Great Blue Heron landed on the roof of the dock.

Over all, considering I wasn't really planning on going birding, it was a fairly productive trip! I came home with five year birds and three life birds. Here's the total list of all the birds I saw today:

  • Magnificent Frigatebird (life)
  • American Oystercatcher (year)
  • Double-crested Cormorant
  • Anhinga
  • Ruddy Turnstone (life)
  • Brown Pelican
  • Fish Crow
  • Least Tern (year)
  • Royal Tern
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Snowy Egret
  • White Ibis
  • European Starling
  • Roseate Spoonbill
  • Willet
  • Laughing Gull
  • American Golden Plover (life)

I saw the American Golden Plover on the side of the causeway and couldn't get a picture, so I'm not 100% sure that's what it was. It was either that, or a Black-bellied Plover. But, judging from what I remember, and the description in my field guide, I'm going to go with Am. Golden for now.

I'll try to post more pictures later.

Happy birding!

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