Vol. 2, No. 5 – The Turnstone

The Turnstone - Birds Illustrated by Color Photography

The Turnstone



HIS small plover-like bird is found on the sea-coasts of nearly all countries; in America, from Greenland and Alaska to Chili and Brazil; more or less common in the interior along the shores of the Great Lakes and larger rivers.

It is generally found in company with flocks of the smaller species of Sandpipers, its boldly marked plumage contrasting with surroundings, while the Sandpipers mingle with the sands and unless revealed by some abrupt movement can hardly be seen at a little distance.

The name Turnstone has been applied to this bird on account of its curious habit of dexterously inserting its bill beneath stones and pebbles along the shore in quest of food, overturning them in search of the insects or prey of any kind which may be lurking beneath. It is found on smooth, sandy beaches, though more commonly about the base of rocky cliffs and cones. The eggs of horseshoe crabs are its particular delight.

In the nesting season the Turnstone is widely distributed throughout the northern portions of both continents, and wanders southward along the sea-coasts of all countries. In America it breeds commonly in the Barren Lands of the Arctic coasts and the Anderson River districts, on the Islands of Franklin and Liverpool bays, nesting in July. In the Hudson’s Bay country the eggs are laid in June. The nest is a hollow scratched in the earth, and is lined with bits of grass.

The Turnstone is known by various names: “Brant Bird,” “Bead-bird,” “Horse-foot-Snipe,” “Sand-runner,” “Calico-back,” “Chicaric” and “Chickling.” The two latter names have reference to its rasping notes, “Calico-back,” to the variegated plumage of the upper parts.

In summer the adults are oddly pied above with black, white, brown, and chestnut-red, but the red is totally wanting in winter. They differ from the true Plovers in the well developed hind-toe, and the strong claws, but chiefly in the more robust feet, without trace of web between the toes.

The eggs are greenish-drab in color, spotted, blotched, and dotted irregularly and thickly with yellowish and umber brown. The eggs are two or four, abruptly pyriform in shape.


TURNSTONE.Arenaria interpres. Other names: “Brant Bird,” “Calico-back,” “Bead-bird,” “Sand-runner,” “Chickling,” “Horse-foot Snipe.”

Range—Nearly cosmopolitan; nests in the Arctic regions, and in America migrates southward to Patagonia. (Chapman.)

Nest—A slight depression on the ground.

Eggs—Two or four, greenish-drab, spotted all over with brown.

Ruddy Turnstone - MacDill

Ruddy Turnstone – MacDill by Lee

Lee’s Addition:

A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth. (Proverbs 17:8 KJV)

Amazing! Today, Dan and I went over to Tampa and we carried our cameras along. We went to the shore and were taking photos of the birds that were having a field day just off shore. Brown Pelicans, Cormorants, and lots of Laughing Gulls and terns were diving for the fish that must have been clustered right there. Later we walked down to where the terns and gulls were landed to take more photos. While I was standing there, this one odd bird landed by me and then stayed for about a minute and was gone. Guess he couldn’t find any of his kind. At the time, I thanked the Lord for letting me see it and did not know then that it was the next bird in this series.

I didn’t recognize it until this evening while going through my photos. It was a Ruddy Turnstone! I have never seen one in breeding plumage before and thought I had gotten me a new bird, but no, seen them before.

I am thankful that the photos turned out so good. Dan showed me how to adjust my viewfinder setting properly. I have just looked through it and tried to make things out clear. I was taught to put some lines or text up in the viewfinder and adjust it so that is clear. Then the pictures will be clear when I use my program mode. Worked pretty good.

I haven’t said much lately about my eye, but it has recently gotten worse. (My camera eye) When I went to the eye doctor this week, I was told the vision has gone from 20/50 to 20/80 since my last checkup 6 weeks ago. That is one reason I haven’t been doing as many blogs as usual.

Long story short, my cataract has increased and will need to have an implant, but they can’t do it until my 6 months check up for my retina surgery. That is in June. Then if all is well, the cataract will be taken care of. In the mean time, my vision is blurry and will most likely get worse before it can be taken care of. Your prayers are appreciated that I don’t get discouraged and that I’ll get a good report in June. So far, I am thankful for what I can see. Today was an experiment for me to see if I could still get a good photo and to just enjoy watching the Lord’s amazing creations flying and having a good time “fishing.”

Ruddy Turnstone and Forster's Tern 5-10-13

Ruddy Turnstone and Forster’s Tern

The Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres) is a small wading bird, one of two species of turnstone in the genus Arenaria. It is now classified in the sandpiper family Scolopacidae but was formerly sometimes placed in the plover family Charadriidae. It is a highly migratory bird, breeding in northern parts of Eurasia and North America and flying south to winter on coastlines almost worldwide. It is the only species of turnstone in much of its range and is often known simply as Turnstone. (Wikipedia)


Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for October 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited


(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)

Next Article – Belted Piping Plover

The Previous Article – The American White-Fronted Goose


ABC’s of the Gospel


Ruddy Turnstone – Wikipedia

Charadriidae – Plovers Family


2 thoughts on “Vol. 2, No. 5 – The Turnstone

  1. Dear Lee

    I hope that your eye is making a recovery. May God bless you both abundantly in

    the days ahead…….Peter England

    Sent from Windows Mail


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