A few days ago, a flock of Sanderlings appeared to be still sleeping around 9 AM on several boulders near Barnegat Ligthouse.
Later on I saw a Tabby Cat in a wooded area not too far from where the Sanderlings were. I have seen him several times for the past three years, roaming among the trees and bushes, perhaps stalking for prey. However, the Sanderlings usually kept by the beach, so maybe the Tabby Cat was after smaller birds.
Long-tailed Ducks also breed in the Artic Coasts and winter in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic coast, although New Jersey, Delaware, and parts of Maryland are as far South as they will go. There were many of them yesterday near Barnegat Lighthouse. They swam back and forth during the time I spent there, providing many opportunities for photographs.
Just before I left, a male Long-tailed Duck flew around several times, at least three, calling out constantly, perhaps reminding all the other ducks that migration time was fast approaching. It was quite a show and a photographer’s dream.
A Brant is a relatively small goose that breeds on the Artic coasts of Western Siberia, Alaska, Canada, and Greenland. In late fall, they migrate to Western Europe from Siberia. In North America, they fly down from Alaska and the upper reaches of Canada to the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, at times making non-stop flights that could be as long as 1,000 miles (1,600 km) or more. While the Pacific and European Brants have black bellies, the Atlantic Brants that I see have white ones.
Yesterday, as temperatures climbed to the 50’s (10 °C) I went to Barnegat Lighthouse State Park where the Brants put on quite a show in preparation for their impending flight back to their breeding grounds.
Ruddy Turnstones are fairly common on the New Jersey shore. I have been seeing them since this Spring. Wearing their breeding colors, they are easy to spot on the jetty at Barnegat Lighthouse State Park.
In flight they look stunning.
Last week at the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, many birds covered a small island in the marshes. Scanning the island through my camera’s viewfinder, at one point I saw sand being thrown upward by tiny feet. After a few minutes, it turned out that it was a Ruddy Turnstone making a perfectly round scrape as a nest site.
In May 2017, I posted photos of an Oystercatcher named T2 because he was banded and the band showed T2. He had been a regular of the beaches at Long Beach Island, and last year he and his mate, Lady Hamilton, had their first brood on the beach at Barnegat Lighthouse State Park after many unsuccessful tries. It was major news for birdwatchers. This year T2 has not been seen and some said he may have died, reason unknown.
Yesterday, I went to Barnegat Lighthouse to see if I could photograph the many birds that usually live there. To my surprise, I saw a couple of Oystercatchers, but there was no T2.
The very handsome pair walked back and forth across the sand. After a while one of them prepared to lay down.
It looked like it was sitting down to incubate. There was a rope and a keep off sign, and I did not want to disturb them so this is as close as I could get with a telephoto lens.
The other one stood nearby and took a nap.
So T2 and his mate may be gone, but another pair of Oystercatchers have taken their place at Barnegat Lighthouse.
Update 31-Jul-2018: I’ve added two more photos of these Oystercatchers.
The URL for this challenge is: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/2017-favorites/
In early May 2017, I went to Barnegat Lighthouse Park and walked the short (0.2 mi) Maritime Forest Trail looking for birds to photograph. Suddenly a red bird, a male Northern Cardinal flew by with a seed in his bill. He went to a branch on which a female was already perched and began to feed her in a gesture of love and courtship, as you can see in the following shots.
Yesterday, despite high tide at Barnegat Lighthouse State Park I was able to come close enough to a band of Harlequin ducks to take the following series of photos. These ducks love fast moving water and dive in it with abandon to find food like small fish and crustaceans.