It’s always fun to gaze across the water looking for our usual residents. But in springtime you never know when a beautiful stranger might drop by for a few hours or a few days.
On a warm evening in the marsh, you might spot an ancient snapping turtle looming large at the surface, ready for any meal that might come within striking distance.
Looking through clouds of midges in the calm of early morning, you spot Cormorants and Ring-Billed Gulls looking for breakfast.
Red-breasted Mergansers are usually here for just a few months. When they come close to shore they make great entertainment, disappearing for long dives, skittering around the surface in boisterous play, and then suddenly, simultaneously, rising up and away in flight.
But one quiet afternoon this week I could hear that something different was going on, somewhere near the breakwater. A chorus of peeps – or was it squeaks, or tweets, or whistles? It wasn’t a familiar sound so I set out to investigate.
What should I find but a few dozen Whimbrels (or Hudsonian Curlews, as some older references call them).
They mingled with the Gulls, sang their songs, stretched their wings, and then departed in smaller groups until, shortly before sundown, they were all on their way to the far north.
Come morning, a bright sun rose on another group of visitors, the Dunlins, likewise stopping for a short rest during a long journey.
By mid-morning they too had departed for parts north.
But back to the title of this post – do whimbrels whistle, or is that wordplay just whimsy? You can listen and decide for yourself: