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.