gull, oystercatcher, willet

7.14.21 ~ Eastern Point, juvenile herring gull

So, last night we went down to the beach for a few minutes before getting back home for our scheduled video call with our son and daughter-in-law. The humid air was oppressive and Tim wouldn’t have lasted down there much longer anyway.

juvenile herring gull portrait

I was content to capture a few gull portraits, but then, out of the corner of my eye I spotted an oystercatcher way out on the breakwater. Zoomed out. I don’t think this one is related to the family group we’ve been seeing because it is banded.

banded American oystercatcher

While I was trying to get a clear picture of the oystercatcher I detected some movement near it and finally spotted a bird I’ve never seen at our beach before, a willet! (I think I may have seen them on Cape Cod, but never this close.) When it flew from the breakwater over to the rocks in front of us we could see a bold white and black stripe running the length of each wing. But once it landed on the rocks it walked all over them and didn’t fly again before we had to leave. We were mesmerized.


And after that brief but exciting visit to the beach we got back home to the air conditioning and had a wonderful long video chat with the kiddos. πŸ’™

22 thoughts on “gull, oystercatcher, willet”

    1. I am feeling pretty lucky, bird-wise, lately, Leelah. Thank you for sharing in my joy! πŸ™‚

  1. Awesome captures, Barbara! Congrats on the Willet!! I find it really cool to get a photo of a bird that is banded. I was recently successful in getting enough numbers on a band, that when reported, they were able to accurately match it up to my bird. I even got a certificate telling me about my bird! πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you, Donna!! And thanks for letting me know about reporting. I went to the website about it and only then did I notice and realize that the oystercatcher had a smaller metal federal band AND the color marker. Maybe some day I will see one with enough numbers to report, now that I know what I’m looking for! πŸ™‚

      1. Barbara, if you have some time, I’d love for you to go to and report all the info you can on the oystercatcher’s bands (it’s a form you complete online). If you don’t know on something, you say so. They are always interested in any info a person has because it could connect to another person’s sighting. You will also upload your photos to show the bands. I can clearly see underscored 2F. The color of the band means something, the location (what leg) means something, other added bands mean something.

        Whatcha think? πŸ™‚ You may get lucky and help at the same time!

        1. Thanks for the link, Donna! I did it! πŸ™‚ I’ll let you know if I hear anything back. πŸ™‚

          1. Yay! I hope you hear back AND they can ID the bird. It was a couple months before I heard back, I had completely forgotten about it. I’m exciting with your submittal!

          2. Good to know it might take a couple of months. They did acknowledge my submission and gave me a #. I’m excited, too!

    1. Feel free to play favorites, Ally! I’m enjoying finding all these “new” shorebirds but the gulls are still my prized photo subjects. πŸ™‚

  2. I find it so interesting, seeing the difference in birds from one part of this country to another. We, of course, don’t have these “water birds,” so I’m completely unfamiliar with them. Thank you for sharing them here.

    1. I’m so happy you’re enjoying my pictures of our local shorebirds! It’s amazing to me how vast North America is and how different the fauna and flora can be from one part of it to another. I’d love to see some prairie birds some day…

  3. I’ve never seen willets before – some of these shorebirds have the longest legs don’t they? The killdeer always make me laugh as their legs are so long that they sometimes look like they are walking on stilts. The oystercatchers sure have a unique look … I always like when you feature them. I hope you’re doing fine weather-wise as I heard Connecticut and a band of other states may be having some severe weather today

    1. Yes, those long legs come in handy for wading around in the water between the rocks looking for crustaceans and fish to eat. I love watching them hunt and waiting to see what they pull out of the water. Those killdeer are very comical to watch, especially when they’re trying to round up their chicks! It’s been a summer for oystercatchers — we hadn’t seen them for seven years and now we see them almost every time we go down to the beach. Most of the severe weather was north of us. I think my sister lost power when a tree fell on a power line during a thunderstorm near her. The dew points have been up to 76Β°. It’s awful out there!

      1. We don’t have all these unique shorebirds close to me at the various marshes where I go. The killdeer with their long legs and their fast walking reminds me of a cartoon character. I’ve never seen killdeer with their nests in the ground or rounding up their chicks. I am missing out here. πŸ™‚ That’s good you didn’t get the severe weather … hope your sister’s power has returned because with dew points at 76 degrees, it is brutal.

        1. But you have the most adorable ducklings and exotically colored squirrels. πŸ˜‰ Looks like we might get some humidity relief on Thursday. Will have to plan something outdoors to celebrate!!! πŸ™‚

          1. Well this is true Barbara. Michigan needs to have a few redeeming qualities. πŸ™‚ Michigan is the #1 Trail State in the nation. That’s good (when they are not soggy). They are likely soggy now as we just had a round of thunderstorms and heavy rain an hour ago and I shut down my computer to wait them out. We get that weather a day ahead of you and tomorrow is supposed to be stellar for us they say before four days of rain. Yes, do plan on something fun outdoors!

          2. Would love to hike some of your trails but I think my days of travel are pretty much behind me. But I love seeing your local photos and enjoy my travels there virtually… Wish we could send some of our rain out west. Our sun is hazy from those wildfires and yesterday we smelled smoke in the air. Will see what it’s like tomorrow…

  4. Spotting an oystercatcher is so fun, I bet you were thrilled, Barbara. Surprisingly, they often blend in and are not easy to spot as they keep their distance. Also nice to be joined by the juvenile herring gull and how fun for you to see your first willet. Lovely post.

    1. Thank you, Jet. Even though we’ve been watching a family of oystercatchers at the beach this summer, this one was alone and banded. At Donna’s suggestion I just reported it to the American Oystercatcher Working Group. So far none have been reported from this location. It’s pretty exciting! πŸ™‚

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