Black Turnstones are back at Alki! It's mid-August and Gregg Thompson is photographing Black Turnstones returning to the Puget Sound area for the winter. And he's trying to sort through the group, studying different plumages and ages.
Most of these birds are adult non-breeders or adults coming out of breeding plumage, like the one above.
Gregg says: "As far as I can tell, out of about 70 birds there seems to be just one juvenile bird ...
... This seems to fit that juveniles are the last to leave going south.
Still hard for me to figure out how juvenile birds can find their way south."
This juvenile finds plenty of tasty morsels on rocks uncovered by the low tide.
Alki Beach is a wide headland that projects into south Puget Sound, part of the inland sea in northwestern Washington State. What is it about Alki beach that Black Turnstones like for spending the winter?
Footnote: Here's a creature - a Variegated Meadowhawk - that shares the beach with turnstones. Would this dragonfly be on the menu for a Black Turnstone?
All photos © Gregg Thompson