The little sanderlings are a feature of every beach I ever visited, this photo was taken at Padre Island by an Audubon Society contributor, and I found it at the San Antonio Audubon site.
Sanderlings dart into the edge of incoming waves and snap up the tiny angel wings that live there. They look as if they're playing in the lapping waves, but it's their feeding pattern.
Our Cornell birders tell me the male makes a sound like a frog while he's flying around in breeding season.
* The Sanderling is one of the most widespread wintering shorebirds in the world. It is found on nearly all temperate and tropical sandy beaches throughout the world. Among shorebirds, only the Ruddy Turnstone and the Whimbrel rival its worldwide distribution.
* The mating system of the Sanderling appears to vary among areas, and possibly also among years. It is predominantly monogamous, but occasionally the female lays eggs for several different males in quick succession.
* It is common for nonbreeding individuals of Arctic-breeding shorebirds to remain on the wintering grounds through the summer. Why make that long trip if you're not going to breed anyway? Many Sanderlings remain in South America without breeding, but only small numbers remain along the North American coasts.