Monday, July 18, 2005

The First Migrants of Fall

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Yesterday the heat index reached over 100F here in southern Wisconsin - too hot for doing much of anything outside. The summer solstice has passed and the days are getting shorter once again - we are definitely reaching the zenith of summer's dog days, and so buzz the cicadas.

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For many shorebirds, the shorter photo-period is innately sensed as a signal for the beginning of their great trek back to their wintering grounds - fall migration has arrived. Indeed, having had a look around at some of my favorite Dane County shorebird haunts in the past week already revealed SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS, SOLITARY SANDPIPERS, LESSER-YELLOWLEGS and LEAST SANDPIPERS. Many more species are on their way.

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The drought here has brought down some of the larger ponds north of Waunakee and I'm optimistic that this fall we'll once again be graced with BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPERS at the V-Pond. This shorebird species nearly became extinct around 1920, but they've made somewhat of a comeback. So far the habitat at the V-Pond looks excellent, I just hope it doesn't dry up completely before the influxes of shorebirds arrive.

Quote of the Day: "There is nothing in which the birds differ more from man than the way in which they can build and yet leave a landscape as it was before." - Robert Lynd

Link: All about the Short-billed Dowitcher from Cornell Labs

Link: All about the Buff-breasted Sandpiper from Cornell Labs

Link: Help Manomet and help shorebirds.

All images © 2005 Michael Allen McDowell

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