Is a Sanderling a sandpiper? The short answer is yes.
Sanderlings are a species in the genus Calidris, which also includes locally seen Semipalmated Sandpipers and Least Sandpipers. All three are called sandpipers, with the sweet nickname “peeps.”Pretty Sanderling in a clamshell
Earlier in the week, our PiPl pair were zooming up and down the beach nest scraping hither and thither. They appear to be a bit calmer the past few days. Perhaps they are settling on a nesting location?? Wouldn’t that be wonderful!
Dad taking a much needed siesta
Our hope is Mom and Dad will have an early nest, which will give their babies the greatest chance of surviving. A second family of Plovers that I am documenting this year has laid their second egg. This pair arrived in Massachusetts the same day as did our GHB pair. It will be interesting to compare and contrast as the season progresses.
Please note – The eggs pictured are NOT at Good Harbor Beach, just making sure everyone understand this 🙂
Sanderlings are migrating northward and there are many currently foraging along our local beaches. Folks often confuse Sanderlings with Piping Plovers. The above sanderling is in non-breeding plumage, with somewhat similar coloring to Piping Plovers. You can faintly see some of the rusty breeding plumage coming in. Sanderlings have much longer bills and both bills and legs are black.Piping Plovers in breeding plumage have stout, orange bills that are tipped black, striking black collar and neck bands, a yellow orange ring around the eye, and orangish legs. As the PiPls plumage fades later in the season, from a distance especially it can be hard for people to to tell the two apart.
Photographing shorebirds early today and this Homie arrives on the scene, loudly announcing his catch. Before I could turn on my movie camera, he swallowed the whole lobster, in one big gulp! You could see the sharp edges of the lobster as it went down his gullet. I predict a Homie with a tummy ache.
The tremendous variety of seaweed currently covering Pebble Beach captures a wealth of sustenance for migrating shorebirds (and Homies).
Sanderlings, Sandpipers, Semiplamated Plovers, and one Snowy Egret at Pebble Beach today, September 12, 2017.
Tropical storm Hermine’s rain has breathed new life into Cape Ann’s drought depleted freshwater ponds and brackish marshes. Perhaps it was her winds that delivered a surprise visit from the Yellow-crowned Night Heron, a rarity for Massachusetts as we are at the tippy northern end of their breeding range. Towering waves accompanied by a tumbling undertow tossed from the deep sea gifts of nutrient rich seaweeds, mollusks, and tiny crustaceans, providing a feast for our feathered friends. See all that she brought!
Yellow Crowned Night Heron, juvenile
Muskrat! Eating tender shoots and going to and from his burrow, via refreshed canals along the wetland banks.
Wind and weather worn Red Admiral Butterfly, drinking salty rain water from the sand and warming its wings in the sun.
Immature Great Blue Heron, Two Snowy Egrets, and Great Egret (far right)
A multidue of minnows for the herons and egrets
The Wingaersheek Piping Plover family has not yet begun their southward migration. Here they are foraging in the bits of shells, tiny clams, and seaweed brought to the shoreline by Hermine and not usually found in this location.
Injured Cormorant and Gull finding refuge and food at the pond bank.
My grandmother was fond of saying “the early bird catches the worm.” I assumed she said that because I adored getting up early to eat breakfast with my grandfather before he left for work. In a large family with siblings and cousins, I had him all to myself in those day break hours. Having developed a passion and love for wild creatures and wild places, I understand better what she meant. She and my grandfather built a summer home for their family in a beautiful, natural seashore setting and both she and my parents packed our home with books and magazines about nature. Now I see her design…
Day break, beautiful scene, beautiful creatures by the sea’s edge
Song Sparrow breakfast
American Robin fledgling, note its speckled breast feathers
Mockingbird feeding its fledgling
Song Sparrow and Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) flowers and fruit