Anne and I got away for the day. We drove to Seney National Wildlife Refuge and did some birding. It was grey with overcast and rain did more than threaten, but we were pretty successful. We saw a total of six loons. Enough to form an asylum of loons. We saw enumerable Trumpeter swans. None of them were that normal pasty white in color, but rather a nice mocha brown, having spent all summer at the Seney tannin salon. I saw a pair of Pileated woodpeckers and got pictures, but they are not the best. Anne saw a pair of Belted kingfishers. We also photographed a pair of Pied-billed grebes. The rain held off for a while, but it eventually started. After that we pretty much did our birding from the front seats of our black mobile bird blind, also-known-as the Prius. We circled both the Marsh and Fishing loops. It was getting on by the time we finished both loops so we ducked down to Germfask and the Jolly Inn, for a late lunch. It rained off-and-on all the way back to the cabin, where we had been missed.
Anne and I saw these birds yesterday on the beach, but neither of us had a good camera then. There was a certain otherness about them that distinguished them from the more normal Spotted sandpipers that we’ve been seeing all summer. We saw their tracks all up and down the beach. We also saw the tracks of another animal, an as yet unidentified mammal. Those tracks also ran the length of the beach, but unlike the sandpiper tracks which went every which way, this animal was moving with a purpose. The tracks looked too big to be those of the mink that we saw earlier this summer, but they also seemed too small to belong to any of the dogs that live on the beach. It’s a mystery. I saw the new sandpipers again today and had my camera in hand and got these pictures. I’ve classified them as Semipalmated sandpipers. There was an adult and four juveniles, although there were more yesterday. They are just passing through. They breed in the Arctic and we’ve seen them before in the Keys, where they winter. They have quite the epic migration. In other bird news, while I was writing this post, a juvenile robin slammed into a sleeping porch window. It left a greasy smudge and a few feathers on the glass. Anne and I ran outside and photographed it as it was sitting still stunned on the ground. It soon tired of us though and hopped away beneath the cabin. So, I guess that it will be alright.