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Monday, April 29, 2013

Resting among the kelp

Late Sunday afternoon I encountered a few shorebirds roosting among the dried Bull Kelp on Salmon Creek Beach.  The brown coloration of the Whimbrel was an especially good match, making them hard to see at first.  How many can you spot in the picture below?  (If you're not familiar with Whimbrel, they're the large brown shorebirds with the decurved bills.)

There are eight Whimbrel in the image above.  Four spread out along the back edge of the kelp, one on the far left, one near the center, and two on the right.  There's another cluster of four in the middle of the kelp, just right of center.  Below I've zoomed in on this group of four so you can see them better.

If you scan the photo above closely, you might be able to find two other shorebirds!  There's a smaller sandpiper and a plover.  Can you find them?

I've cropped the picture a little more to help:

In the upper right corner there's a Dunlin (with red back and black belly) and a Semipalmated Plover (with black forehead and black neck ring).

The kelp and driftwood on the beach provide important resting sites for these shorebirds as they migrate northward along the coast.

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