I followed this Ruddy Turnstone with my camera for a few minutes this afternoon out on the rocky shoreline near the House of Refuge on Hutchinson Island, in Stuart.
This bird is “wearing” its more colorful breeding plumage. See the difference between breeding and non-breeding feathers HERE.
Ruddy Turnstones breed in the arctic tundra. The rest of the year they are along the coasts in the Americas and Eurasia, sometimes very far south. Some birds fly 6,500 miles between breeding and non-breeding grounds.
This is an oddly rocky spot along the Florida Atlantic coast. The turnstone seems to fit right in, though these “stones” are a bit too big for this bird to “turn” them over to look for bugs and crustaceans.
Sometimes I come here just to look out at the ocean. The water is a beautiful color from our raised, rocky vantage point.
Ruddy Turnstones are long-distance migrants with a worldwide distribution. They’re found in at least five different populations on both North American coasts as well as in South America, Eurasia, Africa, and Australia. All North American populations breed in the Arctic and travel and winter in large flocks that may include other shorebirds
Blue is non-breeding and migration; yellow is the breeding grounds of the Ruddy Turnstone. Pretty impressive migration. Map from the American Bird Conservancy.
These medium-sized sandpipers are a common visitor to our shores, and a good bird to know.