black-bellied plover

11.10.20 ~ Harkness Memorial State Park
Waterford, Connecticut

This is another state park we have avoided during the pandemic because it is so popular that it has closed early many times after its parking lot became filled to maximum capacity. We tried now on a weekday and found it busy but not crowded. There is much to see here, beautiful gardens and a mansion, but we headed for the nature preserve. A squirrel was here to greet us at this park, too.

Not sure what the above bush is but I liked the way it looked. The seed pods, below, remind me of pictures of the coronavirus, though. Sigh…

The path down to the cove was nice and wide, but we needn’t have worried about it because we didn’t encounter anyone down there. I took lots of pictures of the plants, the colors and textures were so pleasing to our eyes. The air was full of insect hums and buzzes.

When we got down to Goshen Cove I spotted a lone shorebird on the tidal mudflat, new to me, which my Facebook group helped me to identify: a juvenile black-bellied plover, or possibly a nonbreeding adult.

juvenile black-bellied plover

In breeding plumage, Black-bellied Plovers are a dazzling mix of snow white and jet black, accented by checkerboard wings. They are supreme aerialists, both agile and swift, and are readily identified at great distance by black axillaries (“armpit” feathers) in all plumages—and by their distinctive, mournful-sounding call. The largest and heaviest of North American plovers, Black-bellied is also the hardiest, breeding farther north than other species, at the very top of the world. It is also a very widespread shorebird, occurring on six continents.
~ All About Birds webpage

Tim took particular notice of this tree

After coming up from the nature preserve we followed a path across the lawn and down to the beach. We then encountered some people, some with masks and some without, but there was plenty of space to give them a nice wide berth.

Gratitude doesn’t change the scenery. It merely washes clean the glass you look through so you can clearly see the colors.
~ Richelle E. Goodrich
(Smile Anyway: Quotes, Verse & Grumblings for Every Day of the Year)

The whole setting had the feeling of an impressionist painting.

Our weather has been warmer than average and we broke a record for number of days in a row above 70° F (21° C) in November. Seven. The old record was four days in a row set in 2015 and 1975. It feels very unnatural.

Another public health doctor, Ashish Jha, has been on TV saying he’s not going to visit his parents for Thanksgiving, his example strengthening yet again our resolve to celebrate by ourselves, with video calls to the family. A vaccine seems to be close at hand now, maybe even by April, so it would be foolish to let our guard down at this point.

To lose patience is to lose the battle.
~ Mahatma Gandhi
(Insipiring Thoughts Of Mahatma Gandhi)

48 thoughts on “black-bellied plover”

  1. My son, who works in social media, has notified all that his annual holiday gathering has been postponed. Wise move on his part.

    My 90 year old mother tested positive for Covid and was placed in isolation for two weeks. Fortunately she remained asymptomatic throughout. It’s a helpless feeling to sit by and hope.

    Another series of amazing photographs! Each one better than the prior image. And I agree that they resemble an impressionist painting.

    I emailed you some pictures yesterday, Barbara. Wanted to reciprocate your generous offering.

    1. Your son definitely made a wise decision. Your mother was so lucky but that two weeks must have been so difficult for you, James. What a nightmare so many of us are living through.

      Thanks for liking the photos. 🙂 And thank you for sending me yours — what a beautiful area you live in. The second batch is amazing, too! 🙂

      I see you have an avatar now, camera in hand — very well done.

      1. Have camera, will travel! I have been taking and even developing photographs since I was a child. To me, every moment has its significance.

        Yes, northwest Montana is a slice of heaven and I think everyone should see Glacier National Park at least once. I am just thirty minutes from the park and consider myself fortunate. But there are other amazing venues as well.

        Looking forward to your next post.

        1. You sound like my brother-in-law. He’s been sorting through his photos all the way back through childhood during this pandemic. I think I may have mentioned to you that my husband went to Glacier National Park while he was on a business trip many years ago. He still talks about the incredible beauty and impressive size of the mountains.

  2. A nice post. Love the squirrel that greeted you – he certainly looked well fed. Such a beautiful place to walk. We have slightly upset our daughter and granddaughter by telling them we will not be joining them for Thanksgiving. Someone has to show some common-sense in this critical time. We all need to wait for a vaccine and be extremely careful. Stay safe

    1. Thank you, Peggy. That was the only shot I got of the squirrel – lol – I think he quickly realized we were not bearing food gifts. 🙂

      I know what you mean by showing some common sense. I think a lot of families are struggling with these decisions. Our son and daughter-in-law are up here from Georgia to attend a memorial gathering for her mother, who died just before the pandemic hit. We aren’t going, of course, which they understood, and they are staying with someone else. But I wish they hadn’t come up here at all. Sigh. You stay safe, too.

  3. I love to hear “insect hums and buzzes”. 🙂 That is what I hear just now when I’m near my pecan tree.
    We have plovers in Australia, but they are not as pretty as the black-bellied plover. And our plovers are feared! They nest in long grass, and pity help anyone who inadvertently walks through the grass and gets too close to the nest!

    1. I’m trying to figure out if you meant pecan or peach tree. 😉 For us it was a little strange hearing insects in November. And I wondered if perhaps that plover should have been farther south in its migration by now. That’s interesting that your plovers are feared. Around here, if birds are nesting in grassy areas, the areas are roped off and signs are everywhere warning people not to walk through the grass. A lot of them are endangered species. But it sounds like yours are still plentiful!

      1. 😂 Oh dear, that’s a typo! It should read ‘pecan’! Funnily enough, I DO have a tropical peach tree in my orchard too.
        I think if plover nesting areas were roped off around here, those people who have been attacked would be very appreciative. That’s a great idea. 🙂

        1. 🙂 I fixed it for you! I thought you also had mentioned a peach tree before so I wasn’t sure which way to go with it. 🙂 I hope to see some pictures of your shorebirds when you do get over to the beach.

          1. Oh dear. Sometimes I am dyslexic with my typing.
            I’m really looking forward to going to the beach for a walk soon, Barbara. We’ve been so busy around the house though that so far we haven’t had time.

          2. Me, too. Almost every time I type “town” it comes out “twon.” Not sure why… I’m sure you’ll get to the beach sooner or later — I know what it’s like keeping up with things around the house. 🙂

    1. You’re very welcome, Frank. It was nice to finally find a time when the park wasn’t filled to capacity — so many people are flooding the state parks in search of a little outdoor time.

  4. A lovely day to visit this pretty park, your photos are wonderful, Barbara. I love the squirrel and plover, esp. Hasn’t the weather has been unbelievable? but it does come with a twinge of worry. CC is such a worrisome thing.

    1. Thank you so much, Eliza. Before the pandemic hit I was very anxious about climate change and it still worries me. We had snow in October and now summer weather in November. But seeing the plover was such a wonderful experience.

  5. We won’t be seeing our son this Thanksgiving, either, more than likely. What a sad thought but definitely the wise way to go.
    I enjoyed your photos. Very intrigued by the first small tree/shrub you showed. It feels like I should know that one but It isn’t coming to me. I love it when that happens 🙂

    1. It’s going to be a memorable Thanksgiving with so many families deciding to celebrate at home with no extended family or friends. But hopefully this will be the only one and there will be a vaccine by next year. Maybe next spring I will be able to identify the tree/shrub. For now, I’m calling it the coronavirus bush! 🙂

  6. Before today I had never heard of a black-bellied plover. Now I want one. Wonder how I could convince some that the lakeshores of Tennessee and Kentucky are coastal? 😊

    1. I had never heard of a black-bellied plover, either! And since the juvenile looks nothing like the adult male I needed help to make the identification. The good news is that according to the range map the black-bellied plover does migrate through Tennessee and Kentucky (and many eastern states) on its way from the Arctic to the Caribbean. So it’s possible. 😊

        1. Oh, lucky you! I saw a sandhill crane once, at the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia. I’ve never seen one in Connecticut.

  7. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a black-bellied plover, but it’s really cute! Of course, being inland, I don’t imagine I’ll see one here … unless this stupid pandemic ends soon and lets us travel again. Sigh. Sad that even flower seed pods start looking like COVID, huh??

    1. This was my first black-bellied plover and it was cute, and a youngster. The adult male is pretty striking from the pictures I’ve seen online. Yes, I couldn’t help thinking I just can’t get away from COVID reminders. I loved the shape of the bush but was dismayed when I got close to examine the seed pods. Hang in there, Debbie!

  8. I really like the checkerboard wings on the plover. They seem unique and wonderful to me. I keep reminding myself of the Paul Simon lyric: “the nearer your destination the more you slip sliding away.” Not as profound as Gandhi but the same sentiment.

    1. Yup, exactly the same idea. My goodness, I haven’t thought of that song in years — thanks for the reminder, listening to it now. 🙂 When I spotted the black-bellied plover it felt like I had landed on another planet and was looking at its strange new wildlife.

  9. Lovely plover and walk where it wasn’t too crowded. Glad you’re still getting out. We had invited our friends over for Thanksgiving—we’ve been getting together once a month for the last couple of months. We stay far apart if we’re inside and keep the house well ventilated. But now am pondering whether to de-invite them. Or would that be dis-invite? The jury is still out…

    1. I don’t envy you having to make that tough decision, Kathy. Our governor thinks we should not have small gatherings inside but if we feel we must we should get a test beforehand and bring our own food and utensils and wear masks and open the windows the whole time. At least your friends wouldn’t be traveling from out of state and picking up germs along the way. (I think uninvite and disinvite are both correct.) It will be interesting to see what you decide.

      1. We cancelled (uninvited) our friends this weekend. They were OK with it. Our governor put out a plea tonight for us to not have Thanksgiving with other family or friends. It feels much better this way.

        1. I’m glad you’re feeling settled about the socializing decision. Having an invisible enemy sure complicates our decisions these days. I’ve seen your governor on the news — things are looking pretty grim but this is a sacrifice we can make for the cause. Our son was OK about not seeing us last week. He was up here from Georgia for his mother-in-law’s memorial gathering. Now I’m going to worry about them for a couple of weeks…

  10. Walking through nature, as beautiful as the nature you walk through, should help us be patient, don’t you think? We also have decided to remain home for the Thanksgiving feast. Sad, but then we have next year’s to look forward to, thanks to science and a coming vaccine. xo

    1. Joining you in looking forward to next year’s Thanksgiving. It looks like the vaccine might be a game changer. I hope the grandchildren will be able to come visit us even before then! Yes, our nature walks will surely help us to be patient until that wonderful day arrives. Happy to hear you’re staying safe, Pam. 💙

    1. Thank you, Donna!! It was nice to have you along and the black-bellied plover was such a delightful surprise. There would have probably been more birds in the summer, but more people, too. 🙂

  11. The cute little (but getting plump) gray squirrel was the cherry on top of the sundae as the walk just got better as you went along. The landscape looks about like ours, leaves are still there but suddenly clinging and holding on for dear life. I’m glad you picked a weekday and could escape the crowds, especially as stats are getting alarmingly high across the U.S. I’m sorry you can’t have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner this year … it is only me, so nothing to adjust to as to Turkey Day – thank goodness for FaceTime and Zoom. Your Plover is very sweet and Andy Finnegan had a similar bird which I think was a Plover too.

    1. Yes, the statistics are getting more and more alarming with each passing day. For Thanksgiving will you cook yourself a traditional meal? We’re contemplating take-out because there are so many things I can no longer eat and I don’t want to cook things I cannot have. They’re also giving meals out at the senior center — you just drive up and they put it in your trunk. No contact. Might get one of those for Tim. Yes, thank goodness for video calls! The focus will be on those and not so much the food for us. 🙂 Maybe we’ll get a nature walk in, too.

      1. Yes, very alarming Barbara. Our Governor and her Medical Director, both whom I think are doing a super job in keeping us informed, and, as Governor Whitmer said in her last press conference: “you all know I don’t sugarcoat anything …” have a press conference at 6:00 today. It is speculated that she will make some restrictions … the pair has a tough time trying to convince everyone how serious this pandemic really is. As you probably know, there was a plot to kidnap her a few months ago. She is disparaged left and right (people call her “Whitless” for “Whitmer”). As for Thanksgiving, I usually just do something simple – I call it my “one pot wonder” and I get some cooked chicken, put it into a pot with the fixings for green bean casserole and make a side dish of stuffing and I have leftovers from that meal. This year, having brought the crockpot in September, I’m going to do something similar and put the stuffing on the bottom and the same fixings. I’ve tried the stuffing on the bottom of the chicken before and it works well. When it was my mom and me, we just had a turkey breast or a ham steak with sides. For years we used to go a restaurant which was open for all holidays but they are no longer in business. I have not done a video conference with anyone, but I don’t have any relatives and keep up with friends via e-mail and a couple of friends on Facebook. I hope to get a few walks in during that four-day holiday, so hopefully the weather cooperates.

        1. I saw your governor on the news — she makes the national news a lot. I feel bad for her because she gets so much opposition from so many unreasonable people. I LOVE my slow cooker. I should try a turkey breast in it some day. It’s fun smelling something good cooking all day long. We used to take my father and my aunt to a restaurant for Thanksgiving for several years after my mother died and when the kids were still living at home. To me, that was the easiest way to go because I’m not much of a cook. I hope the weather is good for your walks! Stay safe, my friend!

          1. Yes, our Governor does make the news a lot – she made that rather impromptu press conference last night. I figured something was up and today she said if the stats rise, there will be more restrictions after the three weeks passes. The restaurant owners protested today and several were interviewed. They said they were running 25% of their normal crowd as it was and at carryout only it will be less now that it is cold.

            My mom and I went to a place called “The Boneyard” (a rib place) and it never closed, so we’d go, weather permitting, for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Then we started going to Ryan’s, a steakhouse/buffet for the holidays. My mother could cook – I cannot and I wish I’d gotten the crockpot a long time ago. You can put the stuffing on the bottom, then your turkey breast, 1 can mushroom soup, 1 can cream of chicken soup, 1 can mushrooms, 1 or 2 cans of green beans, Durkee onions on top. I add other canned vegetables the rest of the time to make it thicker as a general rule. I like the nice smell too – makes me hungry waiting for it. Thanks Barbara – I hope it is nice too. My best bet may be this small park – too many others gather at other places right now to stay safe. You do the same.

          2. Sigh. I feel for small business owners. This is why Congress needs to pass more relief for them so they can survive while shut down to keep the virus from spreading… Your turkey slow cooker recipe sounds good — maybe next year I will give it a try for the family. Unfortunately for me I can’t have most of the ingredients. 🙁 I think we’ll be going to the beach for a walk this morning. The beach group on Facebook says a tree came down in Sunday night’s storm…

  12. Glad to hear you are hanging in there. We don’t have so many cases of COVID here, but we are careful when we go out and wear masks. Love that squirrel at the first of your post. Talk about persistence!

    1. Nice to hear from you, Jane! That was the only shot I got of the squirrel — he took off before I could press the shutter a second time. Glad to hear you are keeping safe up there. It’s going to be a long dark winter here, things are already very dire…

  13. Thanks for taking me along on this beautiful walk!
    2020 has been an incredibly stressful year…so I want to thank you for taking me with you (virtually) on this beautiful walk through nature. I have never been to Connecticut…

    1. You’re welcome, Mary! I’ve never been to Texas so it will be nice to see pictures of your state — I followed your blog. Like you, I’ve found there is more truth to be found in nature than in most books. 🙂

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