Shorebirds are beginning to arrive back at the Villas beach after a month or so of absence when they were in the arctic nesting. We have been kind of bored on the beach in July without the shorebirds and horseshoe crabs to worry about. This weekend we were treated to Sanderlings, Sandpipers, Ruddy Turnstones, and Plovers working the sandbars and shoreline.
We also had a large family of 11 Royal Terns hanging around. About half of the Royal Terns were banded with metal bands on their legs. I got pretty close for these photos, but still couldn't make out any numbers on the bands. Here is a group of bored individuals. Remember to click on the images to enlarge them.
Here is an adult (black legs) and juvenile (orange legs). They would take off to the water's edge to bathe and return back to the same spot without care of my presence.
The Sandpipers are interesting. They are very territorial for their little piece of beach. Here is one bird picking a fight.
This guy just wouldn't let any other bird near his beach. He would squawk and chase them in this hunched-over posture until the other bird would leave. Again, this all took place 20 feet away from me. I guess these birds are used to being on beaches with people and dogs.
I love the look of the Sanderling. He (or she) is in the middle of his fall molt - going from brown and rust breeding plumage to gray winter plumage. I thought he looked great with the wet sand background.