The term "peeps" is not internet shorthand for "people" but, to the birding community, refers to the small shorebirds that run like mad along the water's edge feeding on all kinds of tasty bites. These consist of species like, Dunlin, Sandpipers, Sanderlings and their kin. Winter kept a pretty firm hold in the Northeast and even this week we are diving down into the lower digits as more cold air comes through. Hopefully it is the last. This time around, I thought I would focus on two species of peeps in particular - the Dunlin and Sanderling - as observed over the last month or so.
Sanderling and Dunlin come into the northeast to spend the winter months and are in less colorful winter plumage, although I still feel they are rather pretty. It took me some time and some expert advice to help me peel the two species apart.
Here are two pictures of these birds side by side. Notice on the Dunlin the darker coloring along the back and the smudging wrapping around the front of the breast. The Sanderling is bright white underneath and lighter on the topline. Both species show light markings on the topsides of the wings. On Dunlins, they are not quite as distinct as the Sanderlings.
Below is a slideshow of some of the images I made during my visit to both the Birdseye Boat Ramp and Long Beach Park. Included is "Mr. Long Beach" the Iceland Gull, Ring-billed Gulls, Herring Gulls, lifer birds Blue-winged Teal pair, Brants, and of course the peeps!