Last weekend I was curious to check out the Purple Sandpiper that is seen fairly regularly in Ponce Inlet, and Rich was curious to try a vegan restaurant in Daytona Beach. Perfect! We made it a beach and dinner date. :)
When we got to Ponce Inlet Lighthouse Park, the tide was high and the winds were blowing. It’s supposed to be easier to find the sandpiper when the tide is high, because the bird is unable to forage along the whole length of the jetty (where you can’t walk to find him). So I put Rich to work: he was supposed to tell me every time he saw a bird. He was really good at that. He pointed out every single Ruddy Turnstone that passed in front of us!
The Ruddy Turnstones were just about the only birds on the jetty. This one made us laugh when he started to forage under a banana peel. That’s a little different than the rocks they usually turn over!
We got to the end of the jetty and Rich started saying “bird-bird-bird”. Yep, there were a bunch of gulls flying around, and even more bobbing in the water. They were Bonaparte’s Gulls. Now that I’m looking at my bad photo, I wish I had taken more, but the waves were high and the spray was wet and Rich said I narrowly avoided getting soaked. :)
Rich didn’t need me to identify his next find. This Snowy Egret was hanging out on the rocks, showing off his lacy feathers that are part of his emerging breeding plumage. But alas, he was no Purple Sandpiper…
Nor was this Herring Gull, who we found standing on the beach with his dinner in his beak. Crab legs! He was very pretty in the afternoon light, even if he wasn’t a Purple Sandpiper.
Maybe the sandpiper will be there the next time I search for him!! :)