Sunday, December 5, 2010

Splish Splash

Snow Geese swirled by the hundreds in the distance. Lots of ducks swam very close to the drive. Harriers and Eagles soared overhead. The day started off sunny and bright at Forsythe but very windy. So windy that we (me, Di, Barbara and 3 dogs) made excuses about why we didn't need to get out of the truck while going around the Wildlife Drive. We even saw an American Bittern! But that wasn't the story of the day.

When we were through at Forsythe, we drove to Barnegat Light to check for sea ducks. What we found was overcast skies and wind - lots of wind. Even more wind than earlier in the day. We saw hundreds of Common Eider and dozens of Northern Gannets up close and personal, Black Scoters, Brant and Harlequin Ducks too. Even with overcast skies, I got a few good shots of Purple Sandpipers, Ruddy Turnstones, Dunlin, Black-bellied Plovers that were all working along the jetty right at our feet. It is a pretty rough existence working the jetty at Barnegat Inlet any day, but with the wind it gets even rougher. Here are some photos of the day:

Purple Sandpiper - not cropped
This is how close they were

Purple Sandpiper working the rocks for a meal
He was so close that I could get this shot without cropping too much

Ruddy Turnstone in non-breeding plumage

Dunlin on the rocks being overcome by waves

Sleepy Dunlin - you'd be sleepy too
if you made your living in freezing water

Black-bellied Plover on the Jetty

Fishing boat returning to port - lit up by a brief window of sunlight

Roxy wouldn't go up on the jetty. She was too scared. All three of the dogs had fun running in the sand along the jetty. But even they got cold out at the end waiting for me to take photos of Gannets diving for fish. They were actually shivering - although surprisingly Di wasn't. What's up with that?


mick said...

That's a great collection of shorebirds and I wish I could see some of them down here in Australia. The only one I commonly see is the Ruddy Turnstone.

Linda said...

Mick - come on over to the US for a trip. I've been to Australia and only scraped the surface of the amazing birdlife down there. You have incredible sights.