Birds of South Beach, Chatham
Armies of gulls!
Armies of cormorants, too.
Tons of plovers and sandpipers!
And terns galore!
We saw Black-bellied Plovers, Semipalmated Plovers, Sanderlings, Red Knots, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Ruddy Turnstones, Least Sandpipers, Short-billed Dowitchers, Common Terns, Roseate Terns, Ring-billed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Great Black-backed Gulls, Double-crested Cormorants, A Snowy Egret, a Dunlin, an American Oystercatcher, a Piping Plover, and a few bird species we couldn't identify at South Beach in Chatham. You have to be amazed at what we saw that day - in just ONE HOUR, no less!
Why did we stay for just one hour? Because it was hell on earth! We were not prepared for the voracious swarms of greenhead flies on the island. They attacked us the moment we arrived on the island and never stopped biting until we left. Greenhead fly bites HURT. And they were EVERYWHERE! After 30 minutes my daughter and I were screaming and swearing at the flies; after forty-five minutes we were crying and cursing and kicking at them like lunatics. Then we ran for our lives - and my son and husband weren't far behind us!
We didn't get many good pictures from our South Beach trip, obviously, but between the three cameras we did get a few images. The Great Black Backed Gulls taking off as if they were choreographed was impressive.
Great Black Backs are awe inspiring in flight, anyway!
I was also impressed by the brave little peeps sharing the beaches with predators that could eat them for lunch!
Even the predators ran when we got too close!
The immature Great Black-Backed hanging out with a Herring gull is kind of cute.
I love this picture of a Common Tern taken by my husband. He is still the undefeated champion of photography at our house, despite my new camera!
He also took this picture. Do you know what it is!
It's a seal!
This is a horrible picture, but at least you can tell it is an American Oystercatcher. Nor is that the only one we saw on vacation - there was one on a rocky peninsula right near our house!
I'll close with some pictures of birds I can't identify, hoping that someone else can help me out. They are probably immature gulls of some sort, but I didn't think they were gulls at the time. The shape and/or coloring seemed off somehow.
It is primarily the color of this bird that is confusing me. Dark grey all over, without speckles, streaks, or a pattern.
In any case, the sheer variety and quantity of migrating birds at South Beach makes a return visit irresistible. My son and I are planning to go back this week if weather permits, but this time we will be prepared with long pants and long sleeves and as much bug spray as we can carry! (I'm even thinking about getting one of those beekeeper hats with the netting attached if I can find one!) Maybe fly season will REALLY be over this time! Let's hope I get some better photos, too!