Excellent workshops and presentations, fun field trips, great birds and birders, and beautiful weather resulted in yet another outstanding Homer shorebird festival. The variety of habitats attracted familiar birds and several species that I don’t often have the pleasure of viewing in Seward.
The rocky jetty at the Homer Boat Harbor was an excellent place to watch SURFBIRDS and BLACK TURNSTONES as they plucked calories from the intertidal zone. Their striking wing patterns popped as they flew to the next barnacle-encrusted rocks, their reflections following in the calm water below. The Surfbirds were fun to watch even while napping, bills tucked under wings, ever aware of the imperceptibly rising tide.
Later, I checked out Louie’s Lagoon and walked along the beach. Five BRANT walked along across the slough, feeding at the edge. I heard a Plover calling and looked down the beach. An elegant male BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER hunted flies and amphipods at the tide’s edge. I immediately sat down and watched North America’s largest plover.
The Plover approached as a steady pace, hunting along the way until he was almost right below me. As I clicked away, he stood quietly then tucked his beak under his wing, folded one leg into his warm belly feathers, and took a nap. I looked up from my camera and found another male Black-bellied Plover nearby that I had not seen in the limited view of my lens. He too, was very calm and quiet, and also settled down for a nap. The first bird continued to nap, slowly rotating on his one leg to peek around now and then.
When I was done photographing the second napping male, I looked up and a THIRD Plover had appeared, this time a female. What a thrill to have these beautiful Plovers so close and so trusting! Shortly after her arrival, my camera battery went dead and my time drew to a close.
I carefully and quietly got up and moved slowly away. I was very pleased to look back and see that the trio was still napping, undisturbed. Yay! I wish them all the best on the rest of their journey to their nesting grounds on the dry tundra of the high Arctic. May they and their families prosper and return.
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter