From Surf Scoter to Dunlin

I spent the second half of Monday at Port Orchard, though there seemed to be a few less birds in the Marina than usual, perhaps because there was another photographer wandering the area. I did manage to get close to a couple of birds, though. Surf Scoter usually paddle away before you can get close enough to get a good shot, but this one actually popped out from under the dock just as I walked by.

TheBeak

Of course, it was so eager to get away that there is no way I was going to get a shot of anything but its back. Still it’s hard to miss its distinguishing marks: the brightly colored beak, the “wiggle” eye that looks like it belongs on a doll, and the white patch behind the neck.

Most of the time I tried to capture shots of the Goldeneye as they took off

LwFlyngGldneye

and skittered past me,

Gldneye2

darting from one end of the marina to the other, only to repeat the pattern as I approached the end of the dock.

I probably spent the most time, though, capturing a shot of this little bird, fascinated because I couldn’t identify it at first. At first it kept fleeing down the boardwalk, running slowly, then flying a short distance before landing.

SltryDnlin2

After I neared the end of the dock and turned around because I didn’t want to totally stress it out, it flew past me as I walked back to the marina entrance.

At one point it even seemed to chide me.

SltryDnlin

This all seemed like rather strange behavior for a shorebird, especially when I finally decided that it must be a Dunlin in non-breeding colors. I’ve photographed lots of Dunlins, but usually in breeding colors and almost invariably in large flocks on the beach, not a solitary bird walking a marina.

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