Monday, August 22, 2005

Shorebirds and more shorebirds!


(click on image for larger version)

Jesse Peterson and I spent the better part of Saturday watching shorebirds at Horicon National Wildlife Refuge. In the morning there were large, skittish flocks comprised of LEAST SANDPIPERS, SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS and PECTORAL SANDPIPERS. It's so cool watching flocks of shorebirds zoom around and turn in unison. Most of the time it seemed to be a couple of NORTHERN HARRIERS that kept the shorebirds taking to the air, but apparently some birders witnessed a young PEREGRINE FALCON carrying off a peep in its talons.

Both LESSER and GREATER YELLLOWLEGS were present as well as a few STILT SANDPIPERS and several SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS. Also seen were SANDERLINGS, SOLITARY SANDPIPERS, SPOTTED SANDPIPERS,SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, KILLDEER and WILSON'S SNIPE. BAIRD'S SANDPIPERS were numerous with really great views.

On a tip from birders Tom & Carol Sykes we observed 2 BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS along the west section of Old Marsh Road. These were a lifer for a birder named Sam from Massachusetts who came along with Jesse and I. Another birder reported BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS near this same location but they were not present by the time we got there.

With all of this there were so many other birds there worth enjoying like AMERICAN WHITE PELICANS, BLACK TERNS, SNOWY EGRET, BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERONS and all the GREAT EGRETS. The place is just decorated with birds right now.

On Friday there were two AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVERS at the V-Pond north of Waunakee, but the pond is quickly drying up and probably won't be good stop-over habitat for much longer.

Here's a nice picture of a Buff-breasted Sandpiper digiscoped by Tom Prestby at the Rainbow Flowage. Tom uses a Swarovski ATS 80 HD spotting scope with a Nikon Coolpix 4500, and for more of his digiscoping, you can visit his Webshots site.

American Golden Plover image © 2005 Michael Allen McDowell

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