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Surfbird (breeding plumage)        Images © Mark A. Chappell

Surfbirds are well-named medium-sized shorebirds that spend the winter foraging on rocky shores and beaches, usually close to breaking waves.   In spring and summer they molt into a richly mottled plumage with pale but heavily-marked undersides -- seen here -- and fly north to breed in alpine tundra in Alaska and northwest Canada (most of these are only partially molted).   When they return in late summer or early fall, the plumage is a mix of the barred breeding colors and the gray-and-white winter plumage with a solid gray breast (this page).   These were photographed on a rock breakwater in front of the Hotel Coronado near San Diego, and on a beach in coastal Orange County, California; more photos here.

  • Canon 1D Mk. II, 1D3, or 1D4; 500 mm f4 IS lens plus 2X converter, or 800 mm IS lens, some with 1.4X converter; many with fill-in flash (2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2013)