This post is for Wild Bird Wednesday.I went over to Norman Point a week ago. There was a small group of mainly Bar-tailed Godwits roosting in the curve of the bay just south of the point. Instead of just resting and sleeping as they usually do most of the birds were preening.
As the tide went out and there was more soft sand exposed some of the birds started feeding. The bird which is preening (on the right of this photo) has quite a lot of reddish breeding plumage left. I am told that birds which have failed to breed return from the northern hemisphere before the other birds. I have not been out to check the roosts this week but up to the end of last week the big flocks of birds had not yet returned from the north.
In among the Godwits was one very much smaller bird. Although I have frequently seen groups of small birds roosting quite happily almost under the legs of Godwits, this bird kept moving as soon as a Godwit came anywhere near. Maybe it was uncomfortable because it was alone. The red down its front made ID easy. It was a Red Knot still with a little breeding color.
The back and sides of the bird showed pale colored new feathers. Non-breeding plumage is much paler.
Even this Red Knot stopped and preened every once in a while.
The white blotches in the foreground of some of the photos were Gull-billed Terns which were closer to me than the shorebirds. The black cap is full breeding plumage but in non-breeding plumage most of the black is lost and they are left with just a black patch around the eye.