Saturday, August 06, 2005

Madison Audubon Field Trip to Nine Springs

(click for larger version)

The weather today was just perfect. Fellow Waunakeean Jesse Peterson led the Madison Audubon Society field trip to Nine Springs at 7:00AM this morning. Expectations were somewhat low for early fall migrant shorebirds, as we both separately checked Nine Springs earlier in the week and didn’t find much activity at the time. Thankfully the waders, rails and shorebirds that were there gave really nice views in good light and were fairly cooperative.

There were 8 shorebird species seen: KILLDEER, SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, LEAST SANDPIPER, PECTORAL SANDPIPER, SOLITARY SANDPIPER, SPOTTED SANDPIPER, LESSER YELLOWLEGS and SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER. The field trip participants even got to observe a few SORA and a VIRGINIA RAIL foraging along the cattail edges. There were also many GREEN HERONS, GREAT BLUE HERONS and a few GREAT EGRETS.

A field trip highlight came when a lesser yellowlegs, pectoral, least and solitary sandpipers appeared in the same scope field of view for diagnostic side-by-side comparison. I think many new birders, heck, even some experienced birders, find shorebird identification daunting, and it’s opportunities like this where the skill can be honed.

On the way home we checked out the County V pond just north of Waunakee, which held a number of LESSER YELLOWEGS and a few other shorebirds species. The habitat there is once again looking very promising for fall migration. Come on Buff-breasted Sandpiper!

Link: All about the Sora from Cornell Labs

Sora image © 2005 Michael Allen McDowell

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