Yesterday I again went to the Holgate section of the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. Temperatures started below freezing but by noon they had reached 38 F (3 C), there was no wind, so it was a relatively pleasant stroll for me.
Along the beach there were literally tens of thousands of dunlins, many asleep. Dunlins, a kind of sandpiper, breed in the tundra near the Artic, and in the winter migrate to the East Coast as far down as Florida.
Once in a while, they would all fly up in unison.
Then they would land ahead of me.
This is how they looked after landing. This taking off and landing took place several times, matching my progress as I neared the southern tip of Long Beach Island.
After a while I realized that there were no ducks of any kind in the surf. Last week there were Northern Pintails, Long-Tailed Ducks, Hooded Mergansers, and possibly other kinds as well. The explanation came by the time I reached the end of the island. There was a camouflaged duck-hunting boat bobbing on the water, with several duck decoys floating around it. By the time I took the following picture, the hunters had gathered their fake ducks and were getting ready to move to another spot.