Birds at Ragged Neck

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Cormorants flying by the jetty on the north side of the entrance to Rye Harbor.

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I finally got a good look at Snow Buntings for the first time last Wednesday, when I took a trip along the coast with my point-and-shoot Canon SX60. One stop was at Ragged Neck, Rye Harbor State Park.

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Had trouble IDing this bird because I was looking in the sandpiper family when it’s in the plover family. Plus it’s not in breeding plumage. It’s a Black-bellied Plover.

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Audubon Guide…

This stocky plover breeds in high Arctic zones around the world, and winters on the coasts of six continents. Some can be seen along our beaches throughout the year (including non-breeding immatures through the summer). Although the Black-bellied Plover is quite plain in its non-breeding plumage, it adds much to the character of our shorelines with its haunting whistles, heard by day or night.

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Winter range remarkably extensive, from New England and southwestern Canada to southern South America, Africa, Australia.

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Black-bellied Plover on a rock, Ragged Neck.

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There were three of these plovers. They walked across the lawn then down onto the rocks and tidepools.

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Black-bellied Plovers.

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There were seven Snow Buntings. Their legs are so short it looks like they are flopped down on their bellies while dining on seeds in the grass.

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Appropriately named, the Snow Bunting is a bird of the high Arctic and snowy winter fields. Even on a warm day, the mostly white plumage of a bunting flock evokes the image of a snowstorm.

Or snow melting from brown fields in spring.

Around here, birders seem to spot them in open grassy areas very near the ocean.

Do not fetch the bird

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We surprised a cormorant, fishing in a spot right near where we were walking on the old rail bed through Hampton Marsh.

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Instead of flying away, the cormorant paddled off. The dog decided to give chase.

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The bird hit the spot where the tidal current rips fast under an old bridge.

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The dog is a good swimmer but I thought that current might be too much for him and he’d be swept down the river through the marsh then out to sea.

“Radar, come back!”

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Good boy.

Cormorants on the rocks

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Some birds on the rocks off Rye Beach, north of Wallis Sands.

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Looks like cormorants.

Must be Great Cormorants, since it is still winter. Double-crested Cormorants are up here in the summer.

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Pretty cool looking birds, different, these relatives of boobies and frigate birds.

In Asia and a few other places, they used to use cormorants to fish…

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From Wikipedia, Great Cormorant:

Cormorant fishing is practised in China, Japan, and elsewhere around the globe. In it, fishermen tie a line around the throats of cormorants, tight enough to prevent swallowing, and deploy them from small boats. The cormorants catch fish without being able to fully swallow them, and the fishermen are able to retrieve the fish simply by forcing open the cormorants’ mouths, apparently engaging the regurgitation reflex.

Anhinga Trail

green heron

Green Heron in the Everglades.

These small herons crouch patiently to surprise fish with a snatch of their daggerlike bill. They sometimes lure in fish using small items such as twigs or insects as bait.

Lots of birds and some (slow and quiet) bird watchers on the fabulous Anhinga Trail, off the main park road early in the morning on Thursday, February 26.

Photo album: Anhinga Trail

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Anhinga nest with chicks! I believe the adult bird on the right is the female.

A bird of southern swamps, the Anhinga is known as the Water-Turkey for its swimming habits and broad tail, and also as the Snake-Bird for its habit of swimming with just its long head and neck sticking out of the water.

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Cormorants have turquoise eyes!

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White Ibis.

Native American folklore held that the bird was the last to seek shelter before a hurricane, and the first to emerge afterwards. The bird was thus a symbol for danger and optimism.

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Spotted a kestrel at the south end of the main park road, in Flamingo.

North America’s littlest falcon, the American Kestrel packs a predator’s fierce intensity into its small body.

I could spend days and days in the Everglades.

Sea seekers

Gull

Gull (Herring?)

Not exactly in my backyard, but just a few miles away.

Eighty degrees inland and 70 right along the water today, with sunny skies, low humidity, and big waves rolling in for the surfers. It was impossible to resist the coast.

The Wall, North Beach

The Wall, North Beach in Hampton, N.H.

surfer Bass Beach

A few miles north, a surfer at Bass Beach.

Cormorant

A lone cormorant was fishing nearby.

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These sleek, black seabirds look like they are wearing wetsuits.

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Dive!

From All About Birds:

The gangly Double-crested Cormorant is a prehistoric-looking, matte-black fishing bird with yellow-orange facial skin. Though they look like a combination of a goose and a loon, they are relatives of frigatebirds and boobies and are a common sight around fresh and salt water across North America—perhaps attracting the most attention when they stand on docks, rocky islands, and channel markers, their wings spread out to dry. These solid, heavy-boned birds are experts at diving to catch small fish.