Audubon area, Milford, CT

Many different shore birds

I saw no Ospreys and only a couple of terns this visit, but instead I was introduced to two new birds – the surprisingly large (to me) Golden Plover and 5 juvenile Black Skimmers.

But I’ll start with the rock, where so many birds were resting. Cormorants, Great Blue Heron, many Egrets, both Great and Snowy, and even an Oystercatcher showed up.

I believe there were at least 40 Oystercatchers by the time the tide was completely out. If you look closely you can easily differentiate between the adults and juveniles – the adults have the bright red beaks and the orange eye while the juveniles still have a relatively dark eye and only a partially red beak.

The Great Black-backed gull is truly much larger than the others on the beach. They are the largest gulls in the Atlantic. And the little snowy Egrets are really very cute.

The Golden Plover is much larger than the Semipalmated and Piping plovers and much less common so it was fun to see them there. The ones I saw were apparently juveniles. I read that the adults leave the young in early summer to return to South America and the juveniles have to find their own way in late summer. Check out the breeding plumage here:

In the juveniles you can make out the white line above the eye that will later be so striking! I only got pictures of this one bird although there were 3 in the vicinity.

And finally we come to the Black Skimmers, again juveniles. To see the adults, check out this site:

They are striking but I find the juveniles to be quite beautiful with their striped coloration. They were so cool to see on land and flying high or skimming the surface. There is even one shot (though not a great one) of 2 of them skimming the surface for fish. I’m just going to throw a bunch of them into the gallery for you to enjoy their magnificence.

It was especially fun as we got into the golden sun time of day and they became quite active!

In the first picture you can see how they can scoop the fish out of the water with their large lower beak. And see how close they fly to the water surface. I thought they were landing each time, but up they went and around in a big circle returning to the surface again and again.

And here are some portraits in the lovely evening sun.

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