Sanderling juves molting 10/20/17

Here are a couple of migrating Sanderlings basking in the October sun of Crescent Beach while brine flies swarm up from the decaying seaweed. Many shorebird species I never see in winter plumage, while others I never see in breeding plumage. But one of the things I like best about Sanderlings is that I can see them in every plumage possible if I’m just patient enough. That’s possible because a small number winter in Maine, while others continue on to the southernmost tip of Tierra del Fuego. The nearest winter flock to the north can be found just a few miles up the coast on Ogunquit Beach, or Hampton Beach to the south. In these 2 birds, the typical spangled black and white of Sanderling juvenile plumage is about halfway molted to the soft gray upper-parts and pure white underparts of winter plumage. Over the next month or so they’ll become indistinguishable from adults already in their winter duds.

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