It’s not unusual for me to go to an area looking for a particular species of bird. In fact, you have to do so if you ever want to see certain birds. So, I went to Ft. Flagler knowing I was likely to see Harlequin ducks there. Usually, the Harlequins are a ways offshore, heads down, looking for something to eat. Not surprisingly, that was where I focused my attention.
As I walked the beach, though, I would occasional flush a small shorebird and marvel at its beautiful wing pattern. I finally spotted one of the birds before it took flight, and it turned out to be
a Turnstone in winter colors.
It was so small and blended in so well that it’s no wonder I hadn’t spotted one at a distance, even after refocusing my attention on the near shore. I got even better shots on the way back from the point, after I’d gotten all the Harlequin pictures I expected, because I was trying to get a shot of one in flight. I never did, but I got some shots I liked, like this one where the rocks give a sense of the bird’s size.
Once I refocused on the shoreline, I also spotted a number of Black-Bellied Plovers just starting to transition into their breeding colors.
I could’t get a shot of one of them in flight, either, but this shot of one just taking off gives a sense of its wing pattern.