Monday, April 30, 2012


Fernhill Wetlands has had some high water lately, so I decided I'd try Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve this past Saturday in hopes of seeing some interesting shorebirds. I stopped by Jackson Bottom on my way home from Fernhill Wetlands last weekend and noticed that the restoration work on the Wapato Marsh Wetlands was complete. This appeared to be great shorebird habitat.
Things were a little slow as I approached, but soon I started seeing peeps (mostly Least Sandpipers from what I could tell) everywhere. The ponds also attacked scores of Barn Swallows.
Peeps were the only shorebirds I saw for awhile other than a few Killdeers. But eventually I spotted some Dunlins. Though not uncommon, I've only identified Dunlins once before a couple of years ago, again, here at Jackson Bottom.
Initially they spent some time in a shallow area in the middle of a pond, then got quite active, flying around the area, disappearing for awhile, then reappearing.

Then, as I was pursuing a Greater Yellowlegs and a Spotted Sandpiper, the flock of Dunlins landed on the shore right in front of me. Hoping this would happen all morning, I remember thinking to myself, "Ok, don't screw this up". No sooner did I lift my camera, than they all took off. The image above is the best I got as they flew off.

But, for whatever the reason, they began circling the marsh again, making passes nearby a few times. Being a typical gloomy spring day, the low light made it difficult to get sharp images of them in flight, however the one above turned out reasonably well. That big black spot on their bellies during breeding season makes them easy to identify and makes for a handsome bird.

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