Sunday, October 3, 2010

Shorebirds Anyone

Friday October 01, 2010 a day to note in my birding journal.

Kim and I headed out for a day of birding with hopes of lots to see. See we did. Our first stop, Blackie Spit and just as if they had not moved from the spot they were standing in last year, the Marbled Godwit and Long-billed Curlew were there waiting for us.

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We kept an eye on their direction of travel and headed back up the trail to the cove to where they hand landed. We were not to be disappointed.

We found not one, not two but three Marbled Godwits with the lone Long-billed Curlew. What a thrill, however, being that the tide was out and the mudflats and I have a history, getting close enough for decent shots wasn’t possible. This is when I wish I had one of those enormous lenses on a monopod like real photographers have!

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As we zoomed in on the quartet, a couple of small unknown shorebirds flew in.  Turns out to be my first life bird of the day, Black-bellied Plovers.


Then another small shorebird flew in that could possibly be life bird #2. This one has become a mystery for us and a difficult one to ID since we were so far away. Some think it’s a Lesser Yellowlegs, some a Wilson’s Phalarope and others a Willet. Either of the latter two would be a lifer for me.


We’ve seen our share of Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs and this guys bill seemed just a wee bit different. Of course some Yellowlegs were wondering the shorelines as well.


Kim and I spent some time watching  all these little feathered wonders fish and preen and nap before we headed back down the trail towards the car.  On to our next stop, Reifel.

One of the first things we do when we got to the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary, is check the sightings book to see what we can look forward to hopefully spotting during our visit. One entry from a fellow stated that he had observed 4000 – 4500 Long-billed Dowitchers. Kim and I looked at each other and snickered saying wow what a typo!

There was no typo! There were hundreds of them scattered amongst a couple of the ponds. It was like looking at a swarm of bees on the water.

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We sat and watched the activity amongst them all. Some eating, some preening and some sleeping. We also noticed that there was not a Yellowlegs of any kind in the bunch, they were all strictly Dowitchers. We did though see the odd Lesser Yellowlegs in different ponds busy eating and paying no mind to us watching them.

When I had left the house that morning, I wanted shorebirds and lots of them. That’s just what I got. It wasn’t just the shorebirds though, the skies were active with many different birds of prey, the trees hummed with song birds. We had Steller Jays and Northern Flickers, mallards, pintails and even American Widgeons. We counted nineteen Sandhill Cranes, dozens of Great Blue Herons and so much more.

Hands down, without question, Friday October 01, 2010 was the most active and most active bird adventure we’ve experienced yet!

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  1. great post today...nice to see you got it to work for you! trouble yesterday??

  2. I think fall shorebirds are quite the challenge. Sounds like you had a wonderful day. :)

  3. Wow, awesome catch! So glad you both got to see all that wonderful bird activity! Go Girls!

  4. Looks like an amazing day of shorebirds .