Mixed flocks of Shorebirds on the South Beach

In the winter, large flocks of shorebirds use our beaches for resting and feeding.  Many of them are returning from the arctic, where they nest in the summer.  This flock was on the beach, and at first glance, they all appear to be nondescript members of a single species.  Thanks to the miracles of digital photography, you can augment field identification by taking a photo and then enlarging it so you can analyze the differences in size, shape, color, and foraging behavior. After carefully studying this flock, enlarged to the maximum on my computer screen, I think there are quite a few species present, including:Ruddy Turnstone, Black-bellied Plover, Wilson’s Plover, Least Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, Dunlin, Sanderling, Semi-palmated Plover.
These shorebirds are resting between flying and feeding, so keep dogs on a leash and try not to approach so closely that it flushes the flock into the air.

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