March 6, 2011

A Rainy Day Hike

Rainy days don't stop me from hiking, because thanks to my generous husband, I have top notch rain gear that keeps me dry and toasty on my winter beach walks. Today was sort of balmy with light rain for a good part of the day so we headed out for the beach at noon. My husband brought his 'trash picking gear' and picked up garbage as we walked along the beach. The bag he uses for trash is actually a very nice old LL Bean saddle bag I used in a prior life to haul around business papers and text books. The beach always looks better after my husband has finished our walk.

Pulling out my camera in even a light rain is risky but I couldn't resist snapping a few shots of shorebirds. Identifying birds isn't my strong suit so I either ask a photographer friend and avid birder, Tom, aka CarMan, or for a quick ID I head over to Cornell's site, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

When my son was an infant I began participating in Cornell's yearly bird count beginning in December. We had a dozen bird feeders set up right outside our floor to ceiling kitchen window. One feeder was even attached to our window with suction cups. As a toddler, my son was able to identify most of the woodland birds that visited our garden feeders. Now that we live at the coast I'm slowing learning to identify shorebirds. 

Marbled Godwit
The Marbled Godwit is a large shorebird with a long, upturned bill, the Marbled Godwit breeds in the center of the continent and winters along the coasts. It breeds in the northern prairies, amongst grasslands and scattered wetlands.    

The Sanderling is most commonly seen in flocks chasing receding waves on ocean beaches, and running away from them when they return. It breeds in the high Arctic and winters along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts from Canada to Argentina.             

Heading back to the parking lot after our walk, I spotted this beautiful Cooper's Hawk resting on a sign ten feet from our car.    

Cooper's Hawk
Among the bird world’s most skillful flyers, Cooper’s Hawks are common woodland hawks that tear through cluttered tree canopies in high speed pursuit of other birds. You’re most likely to see one prowling above a forest edge or field using just a few stiff wing beats followed by a glide. With their smaller lookalike, the Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper’s Hawks make for famously tricky identifications. Both species are sometimes unwanted guests at bird feeders, looking for an easy meal (but not one of sunflower seeds). 

our haul for the day

beach glass
Why would I ever want to miss a day on the beach like this . . . 


  1. Sheeesh, this new format of yours is so professional and love the links to hear the birds. wowsa! Thanks.

  2. Thank you for your generous feedback . . . whoever you are . . . : ) Don't you just love Cornell's site!

  3. That's a great site. Thanks for posting that. Not sure what bird guide you have but I love Sibley's.

  4. My guides are ancient . . . I mostly look online these days but I'll check to see if there's a Sibley's available. Thanks!

  5. Think I got it?? Was me before, yes, I love the cornell site, use it often.


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