Here are two of the four...showing those distinctive beaks.
We'd had a lot of heavy surf earlier in the week, and in this shot's background you can see some of our California kelp forest that has been pulled loose and washed up on shore.
All of that debris makes a great attraction for bugs for the Whimbrels to eat.
One of this bird's other distinctive field marks (as if that beak wasn't enough) is that center stripe on the crown of its head.
I had a hard time actually getting just one bird in the frame - they all bunched quite closely together most of the time. I thought this behavior was interesting as I'm used to seeing larger shore birds like Curlews and Willets have a little more space between themselves and other birds.
This one of the four was a bit braver than the others about the water so when he ventured a little closer to it, I was able to get a few shots of him alone.
This one shows that crown stripe pretty well, too.
And then his buddies came to test out the water, too, to see what all the fuss was about.
Unfortunately, a few minutes after this, some people let their dog off leash and sent it barreling down the beach and that was the end of bird photography for that morning. So, I headed off to grab breakfast. Saw these birds at this same beach one more time a couple of weeks after this and have not seen them since.