Readers’ wildlife photos

October 30, 2022 • 8:30 am

Today is Sunday, the day for our weekly display of bird photos from biologist John Avise. His topic today is turnstones. John’s narrative and IDs are indented, and you can enlarge his photos by clicking on them:

Turning To Turnstones

This week we turn our attention to Turnstones, of which two species can be found here in Southern California: the Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres) and the Black Turnstone (Arenaria melanocephala).  Turnstones get their name from their habit of using their chisel-like and slightly upturned bills to flip over small pebbles or pieces of seaweed, looking for sand fleas and other bits of food while walking along the seashore.  The two sexes are nearly identical in plumage.  As with many shorebirds, nesting takes place in high-latitude Arctic tundra, after which the birds migrate south to spend their winters livening up our California beaches and rocky shorelines.Ruddy Turnstone in basic (non-breeding) plumage:

Ruddy Turnstone in alternate (breeding) plumage:

Ruddy Turnstone showing the chisel-like upturned bill:

Ruddy Turnstone turning a piece of seaweed:

Ruddy Turnstone in flight:

Ruddy Turnstone flock in flight:

Black Turnstone in basic (non-breeding) plumage:

Black Turnstone molting into breeding (alternate) plumage (notice the white patches around the eye):

Black Turnstone showing the chisel-like upturned bill:

Black Turnstone in flight:

Another Black Turnstone in flight:

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