Quicksand Pond, Little Compton, RI


My first visit to Quicksand Pond was anything but a disappointment. Separated from the ocean by an area of dunes and marsh the pond is an attractant to all sorts of shorebirds. Mudflats draw sandpipers and plovers and of course the falcons that hunt them. With a little bit of wading, the area where the birds were feeding and roosting was easily accessible.  One of the first birds we saw was a Peregrine Falcon. It came out of nowhere and immediately began lazily chasing shorebirds. Everything took to the air. A flock of 6 Blue-winged Teal flew past and were later joined by 3 more as they foraged. The falcon quickly gave up and alighted on a fallen branch in the mud. He sat there for so long that Black-bellied Plovers began to forage just five feet from him. He clearly knew food when he saw it, and looked to be perfecting his death stare but never made a physical move. He must have already eaten.


Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)


On the mudflat were groups of Black-bellied Plovers and Dunlin with Semipalmated Plovers and Semipalmated Sandpipers mixed in. A few Least Sandpipers, a few Greater Yellowlegs and Lesser Yellowlegs and a dowitcher filled out the shorebirds. Gulls roosted in a large area of very shallow water. Herring, Ring-billed, Laughing and Great Black-backed were all numerous. I tried and failed to pick out a Lesser Black-backed. Among the roosting gulls was a Marbled Godwit, casually feeding between the birds. A group of seven of Forster's Terns also roosted with the gulls and occasionally went on short foraging forays over the pond. The water around these birds was so shallow it was easy to walk around them and take pictures.


Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri)


Avian Obsession © 2019 Evan Lipton

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