We learned that we should start looking for shorebirds in "fall" migration during July and into August. We learned that we should know which birds winter close and which go all the way to South America when trying to identify species. We learned all about feathers and molting and juvenile plumage. We learned that we should never assume that all of the birds in a flock are the same. And we learned that a spotting scope is invaluable when watching shorebirds.
Here are some photos of shorebirds that we learned. For instance, here is a Short-billed Dowitcher in fresh juvenile plumage:
Psych! This is a Least Sandpiper in worn plumage. This is really the second post on how to freak out the workshop leader. Notice that this bird is in the grass. That is another thing we learned - Least Sandpipers forage higher from the water than other "peeps".
Here is Semipalmated Sandpiper on the beach at the Villas. I'll have you know that Barbara and I trudged through thick black muck to get out to the sandbar where these birds were running around. We'll probably get some disease.