Saturday was foggy on the Cape Race road. No chance of seeing seabirds but shorebirds on the Long Beach were visible. A group of maybe 40 shorebirds of seven species were gorging on capelin eggs washed up in the coarse sand. The birds were so busy they were reluctant to fly. I saw a photo opt even if it was foggy. I worked my way down on the beach and found a nice flat rock to sit on near the birds for the next two hours. The birds soon got familiar with my presence though they usually kept a 12-15 m radius away except for those that made a nervous dash past me to get to the other side of the beach.
As expected all the pictures were shrouded in a light milky fog. But with Photoshop magic I was able to get rid of the effect without too much trouble, but not completely without paying for it in other ways. Here are some of the results.
The 20 Ruddy Turnstones ruled the beach. They fought among each other but the other shorebirds gave them a wide berth.
They dug holes in the sand saturated with capelin spawn. I figured the eggs on the surface were dead and less nutritious then those down deep in the moist sand. Otherwise, why not eat those hove up on the sand? See those little white spheres? Each one is a capelin egg.
Don't get in the way of a charging turnstone.
This is the first juvenile turnstone of the season that I have seen or heard about.
There were a few adult and juvenile Semipalmated Sandpipers running about the feeding melee picking at the sand as they went and mostly staying out of trouble.
Adult Semipalmated Sandpiper.
The crisp juvenile Semipalmated Sandpipers above and below are just off the printing press. Some come out browner than others especially early in the season.
There were a half dozen White-rumped Sandpipers strolling through the main feeding area.
The White-rumped Sandpipers being bigger than the toy-like Semipalmated Sandpipers dared to steal from the spoils of a turnstone digging pit.
All the White-rumped Sandpipers were adults as expected for mid August but this one pictured above and below was unusual in that it was still in breeding plumage. We don't see them like this often in Newfoundland.
Only handful of Semipalmated Plovers worked the capelin spawn beach. Adult above.
This juvenile Semipalmated Plover has a very dark orbital ring which would look blackish at any distance. Just something Common Ringed Plover hunters should be aware of when using this field mark on the juveniles. This is not a rare event.
A Sanderling or two joined in.
A very worn adult Short-billed Dowitcher above and a bright crisp juvenile below were also present probing deep in the loamy sand for the mother load of capelin spawn.
Any place where the capelin spawned this summer will be good for shorebirding. The east end of the beach at Portugal Cove South also had a nice little concentration of shorebirds in the fog on Saturday. The east end of Trepassey beach should also be good though I did not see much there on Saturday...
Happy Shorebirding. We are into the good season now.