Great Blue Heron.
Last week, I saw shore birds keeping their distance from the waves and coming in calmer waters behind the jetty at Barnegat Lighthouse. They were looking for food as usual, but perhaps with more urgency than on calmer days. Thus occupied, they allowed me to come close to them without flying away.
Sanderlings are well known for running in groups along the surf . This one below was running by itself, but not for very long.
There was also a group of Semipalmated Plovers basking in the sun, not doing much of anything, with some sleeping on one foot.
Semipalmated Plovers are very close to Piping Plovers in size and cuteness. They look similar but with different feather colors as you can see in the photos below. I found several dozen of them in the roped off area of the beach at Barnegat Lighthouse, with one or two Piping Plovers running through their midst.
A crucial distinction is that the Semipalmated Plover is not considered endangered, with a population estimated to be about 200,000. There are fewer than 10,000 Piping Plovers.
For this challenge, I am submitting a photo I took today of a Semipalmated Plover at the Edwin B. Forsythe Wildlife Refuge. This is one of the cutest birds with a large head and big eyes. It is found mainly around sandy beaches. They are hard to see because their colors blend in well with their environment. I heard this bird melodious call first, then I turned toward the sound and saw it.
I had wrongly identified this bird as a Piping Plover, which is an endangered species. The Semipalmated Plover is not endangered, and is said to be doing well and increasing in population.