Unidenified Flying Dinosaur: Squeaky Black Shore Birds

So up at Fidalgo Island, I was just taking some pictures of rocks, y’know, the geology sorta thing. Here’s a beach filled with rough cobbles of serpentinite, peridotite, and dunite, along with other things. It’s also got a bird in it.

Image shows a beach full of rough cobbles. There is a black bird coming in for a landing. It's very hard to see.
There’s a bird on this beach. Honestly.

Here, I’ll show you it.

Image shows a black bird with its wings thrust forward, landing amongst the cobbles.
See the bird landing?

Okay. Here’s where I’m going to tell you to stop and try to identify that bird, because otherwise, it won’t be any challenge at all. You’ll have the ident within two seconds if I show you the after-it-landed pics. Ima leave this here, and see if any of you can get it. Most of the clues you need are in the title. I’ll post the other photos later today, so you can see these lovely little things running about and being adorable.

(Also, what can you tell me geologically about that beach, just by the sizes and shapes of those rocks?)

Good luck!

Unidenified Flying Dinosaur: Squeaky Black Shore Birds

13 thoughts on “Unidenified Flying Dinosaur: Squeaky Black Shore Birds

  1. 1

    There aren’t any contrasting white markings on the upperside, so in my book it’d be a Wandering Tattler until proved otherwise. Rocky habitat is good for them too.

  2. rq

    Weeellll, I woulda gone originally with a plover of some kind, but the black turnstone seems to fit. Except, on reading flight descriptions, it seems to show not enough white on the wings. None of the plovers seem dark enough, except maybe the semipalmated plover. They both seem squeaky enough, though.
    So that’s still two guesses.

    Also, no idea about the beach. Lots of sharp-edged rocks: something fell down?

  3. 5

    It took me some time to realize I needed to look for the bird landing instead of the bird standing!

    The standing bird could, by shape, be a black oystercatcher. If so, it would have black feathers and a long red beak. But it doesn’t look black enough.

    The landing bird is tough to tell because of the lighting and motion blur, but based solely on shape, it looks like a plain old mallard to me.

  4. rq

    Haha, I found it. Those are super-ninja-invisibility-cloaked birds. And yes, Dana, there’s two birds in the photo. :D

  5. 9

    Dunno, but that’s a pretty typical Puget Sound & Vicinity (because Fidalgo is not in/on Puget Sound) beach. Sandy beaches are very rare in these parts. You have to go out to the ocean for that.

  6. rq

    Now all those rocks are starting to look like birds.
    I’m not completely sold on the black oystercatcher, though – it’s too black. Though it might be the light, but it seems to me the (flying) bird is showing some pale underbelly. Do they differentiate by sex?

  7. 13

    The standing bird is definitely an oystercatcher. After looking at the landing bird again, I’m certain its a duck. Not black enough for another oystercatcher and the overall shape doesn’t look right.

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