Saturday, September 10, 2011

American Avocet(s)

When we last left our dynamic birding duo (aka my wife and I) we had left Massachusetts's north shore about an hour before some really cool bids had been reported in in two different places.  There were reports of an American Avocet at BOTH the boat ramp in Salisbury Beach State Park (a spot we regularly visit in the winter when there is no fee) AND at in Hampton NH, just north of Salisbury, MA - and it didn't take long for folks to work out that these were two different birds.  First - they were being reported from the two different locations at the same time, and if that wasn't enough, the Massachusetts bird had some rusty color on the head, while the NH bird was clean white.  Having seen this species before, we felt that the responsible thing to do was to NOT drain a half tank of gas to head back north in hopes that the birds might stay put on the rising tide.  Instead we decided that since we'd probably be heading north to go birding again on Sunday that we would try the next day.

Thankfully, the birding gods looked upon us with benevolence - something that many a birder will tell you doesn't necessarily happen often!  We were even forgiven for getting a bit of a late start, as when we arrived in Hampton NH (where I decided to go first as the light would be better for pics if the bird was there) one of the first birds i put my bins on was the Avocet.  I grabbed my bins and camera and headed down to the beach to fire off a few shots in case the bird decided to fly.  But it didn't - in fact, the bird really didn't seem to care about birders or photographers or beach goers, or boats.  I plopped down in the wet mucky sand and the bird worked it's way towards me - love it when that happens.  I continued to enjoy crippling looks and take pics until it was well past me, then drove to the other end of the beach and enjoyed the show again.

Eventually the bird flew to some more distant sandbars to try it's feeding luck there, so we packed up and decided to try for the bird with a little more color in Salisbury, and while certainly nowhere near as close/cooperative as the Hampton bird, we enjoyed some great looks at this one too!

With 'shorebirds' that look like this, I can get into shorebirding!