There are so many beautiful shorebirds around right now that it's a bit hard to know where to start. I still have to post about some of the ones I saw out at Inskip Point the other morning, but Neil has done a good preliminary report on that, so I decided to post about the Mullens roost first. It was a beautiful still morning but there was a light cloud cover. As we set out the colors across the bay were mainly gray and silver.
It was another good high tide so we were able to kayak right into the roost and up to the far end. There were plenty of shorebirds around but not nearly so many as a couple of weeks ago. I would guess that I saw only about one third of the numbers compared with the other week. The most exciting sighting was a small flock of Lesser Sand Plovers (Charadrius mongolus) . I can usually find a flock of these birds somewhere on the roost site but they are never easy to get close to. This time I was in the kayak and I can usually approach the birds much closer this way without them being frightened. They were standing at the edge of the sand in shallow water.
I slowly drifted in closer and when the kayak ran aground I slipped out and then approached a little closer by shuffling forward on my knees. Shorebirds are less frightened if the person approaching is not seen as so tall. By looking back at previous photos I think this is the closest I have ever been to these birds. Also many of them were going into breeding plumage and I have never got such good close photos of them like this. The birds were all at different stages of their moult into breeding colors.
These two were not showing any color at all. The bird in the middle front is a Red-necked Stint which looks very small beside these others.
There is a Red-capped Plover out of focus in the right rear of this photo. It also is considerably smaller than the Lesser Sand Plovers.
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