Flipping Stones

Black Turnstone (Arenaria melanocephala)

I’d seen Black Turnstones in the park several times, but they always acted more like woodpeckers. They hammered away at barnacles and limpets, extracting the bits of protein inside. This time I finally saw how they came by their “turnstone” name. There were two of them on the low tide mudflats just below the Open Circle viewpoint. They stalked around, sticking their beak under the little stones on the mud, and flipping them over. I think that’s pretty smart behavior. A lot of birds just peck at what lies on the surface.

Black Turnstone (Arenaria melanocephala)

More about them: Wikipedia Audubon Cornell In Chavez Park

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One thought on “Flipping Stones

  • Interesting… most of what it flipped over were empty half-shells of oysters. I wonder whether that was just a result of the local circumstances (e.g., lots of empty shells, lack of stones), or whether they have a preference.

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