The Bufflehead Are Back

The unusually low tide this evening — minus 0.74 — brought out all the usual bird suspects seen in recent days, plus a couple of newcomers for the season:  Bufflehead ducks and the Lesser Yellowlegs shorebirds.  The sunset this evening made the North Basin mudscape almost beautiful.  The round holes in the mud, foreground right, are probably made by fish — the rays or skates that settle in there when the water’s higher.  

In another hour this would be a minus 0.74 low tide

The Bufflehead were so far away that my shots are blurry in the extreme, but there’s no doubt about the birds’ identity. The males have that bright white cap on the back of their heads, and the females have a distinctive spot on the cheek.

Bufflehead M and F

Mallards and Coots were also out in numbers, and a flock of Least Sandpipers, perhaps a hundred strong, flew back and forth over the basin before settling down in the mud near the Schoolhouse Creek outfall.

Least Sandpipers

I saw just a pair of Lesser Yellowlegs working the mud along the Virginia Street extension.

Lesser Yellowlegs

Not far away stalked one of the probably half dozen Snowy Egrets active at this site.

Snowy Egret

There were probably three Great Egrets at the scene. I say probably because they up and flew at various times and places so that you had to follow closely to keep score. Here is one of them.

Great Egret

Almost invisible in the gathering dusk was the hulk of a Great Blue Heron. This individual was probably as big or bigger than the “Oscar” heron that made his home in the park a few years ago. This bird showed battle scars on his right wing. Not a bird to mess with.

Great Blue Heron

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