With warbler fall migration all but over . . . Ingrid and I returned to the ever-exciting world of shorebirds, with a morning visit to Popham Beach. Popham is one of Maine’s premier summer sand, sun and surf locations with towels inches apart on hot July afternoons. Even during the winter the parking lot usually has dozens of cars. On the beach retirees walk hand in hand; dogs chase tennis balls; and beach combers look for glass and shells.

This morning was marred by rain and fog . . . and we were surprised to find ourselves as the only car in the lot and the only people on the beach . . . almost eerie.

Equally surprisingly were the Dunlins.

We’ve seen an occasional Dunlin over the years. Their long drooping bill is unmistakable and we tend to see one or two of them mixed in with other shorebirds. But never flocks of them (actually . . . it’s called a “fling” of Dunlins). This morning we saw dozens, all over the back lagoon.

As Ingrid and I strolled along the lagoon we were amazed as we saw this rare bird everywhere.

An American Pipit (a lifer for us) kept popping out of the grass. Damn thing wouldn’t hold still for a photo . . . but trust us.

Black-bellied Plovers (in winter plumage), adorable Semipalmated Plovers and a handful of Savannah Sparrows.

Not a great variety . . . but some nice surprises.

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