Every clique infested high school in the country has its stereotypical flocks. You got your jocks, your geeks, snobs, clowns, burnouts, drama queens, and what-have-you. But hiding in there somewhere are always a group of highly adaptable individuals. I like to call them floaters. A floater is equally comfortable playing beer pong with the hockey team as he or she is playing D&D with the nerds.
Ruddy Turnstones are the floaters of the wading scene. They seem to get along with everybody, and nobody seems to mess with them. This short, stocky, tough little bird hangs with the Gulls, Sanderlings, Semipalms, Willet… you name it. Ruddy Turnstone go where they want to go, and do what they want to do, and never seem to disturb any of the birds. That’s why we call them, affectionately, Ruddy Buddies.
I’ve long planned to collect photos of Ruddy Turnstone hanging with as many different birds as I could. Alas, it has never happened. But one photo has been sitting on my desktop for the last month and it’s time to post it.
Here’s the story. At the BL inlet, a Herring Gull had caught a crab and was sharing it with her young one. But this was back in late August when all the gulls were coming to the beach with their Cheezitz (TM) to teach them the finer points in raiding your camp. The scene was packed and fiercely competitive. Suddenly, a Black Back Gull, the King of the Beach, arrived and hijacked the crab violently from the mama gull and her baby. Smelling weakness, all kinds of Gulls gathered and fights broke out everywhere. The Black Back fully beat down at least 5 other Gulls defending his stolen crab.
But also attracted to the action was a Ruddy Turnstone. Amidst the violence & chaos, this free roaming little floater just walked right under the Black Back and started nom noming on the crab with him. The Black Back simply looked down, said “Oh, hey Ruddy Buddy” and continued.
This photo exemplifies the like-ability and friendly-osity of the Ruddy Turnstone more than any other I can think of.