Saturday, June 8, 2013

A Walk on the Beach

 [A Least Tern's way of saying go away, Cape May Point State Park, NJ today. Click to enlarge photos.]

It's about a mile from Cape May Point State Park, NJ eastward to Cape May City, and makes for a nice beach walk if you're in the mood for one. And I was, especially since a Roseate Tern was seen on this beach yesterday. That bird was probably storm-related, and unsurprisingly I didn't find it. But it was nice to check in on the beach nesters: many Least Terns, a few Black Skimmers and American Oystercatchers, including one oystercatcher chick, and a couple Piping Plovers. Three Common Terns were the only non-Leasts on the beach.

It was quite overcast with the dregs of the recent tropical low, and threatening rain materialized a bit in the form of scattered raindrops that had me worrying about my camera, but only a little - mainly because I'm about due for a camera body upgrade, so hey, if the rain wrecks my current one, that will just hurry things along.

 [Least Tern escorts a Laughing Gull, persistently diving on it to drive it from the colony. Piping Plovers nesting among Least Terns benefit from this protection.]

 [Two adult and one first year Common Terns resting on the Cape May Point State Park beach. Commons in breeding plumage are quite gray below, as these birds demonstrate, unlike Forster's Terns, which are white. One of these days I'll write a Fri-D blog on telling those two apart, but today there were no Forster's Terns around to take pictures of, an unusual state of affairs for Cape May in summer. Probably they were all busy at their nesting colonies on the Atlantic side marshes.]

[Here's a Common Tern in flight.]

[I had business near Cape May Court House, and decided to check on the Cattle Egrets at the Eastern Shore Nursing Home - they like to forage on the lawn there. I'm glad I did, because they were looking especially fine in high breeding plumage. Check out the bill and facial skin colors on this one! Click to enlarge. Bright bare part color is a feature common to all the egrets in high breeding condition.]

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