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Monday, September 14, 2020

Amazing Shorebirds

This time of year there are bird migrants showing up along lakeshores, in forests, and in the skies above. Keep an eye out for birds that you don’t normally see around here in the Summer. We are entering a very special time of year. As human beings many of us like taking trips to far away places. During the Spring and Fall migrations, far away places come to visit us in the form of many beautiful and unique species of birds.

Yesterday I had an amazing experience birding the mudflats at Cowanesque Lake in Tioga County, PA. My friend Monika and I did this by kayak. We had to portage over some shallow muddy spots but it was well worth the effort! 

We watched mixed flocks of shorebirds forage near the water's edge. Lesser yellowlegs with their long legs and beaks picked for food in the deeper water while pectoral sandpipers with legs a little shorter foraged closer to shore. Right at the water's edge were the shorebirds with the shortest legs and beaks; least, semipalmated, and Baird's sandpiper.

Baird's sandpipers

Baird’s sandpiper is a bird who breeds in the far north Canadian tundra and winters in Chile and

Argentina with at least one confirmed record of a Baird’s sandpiper having traveled as far as

Antarctica! Think of all the landscapes and climates these birds have seen and experienced. It feels like such a gift to enjoy their company in this moment while they refuel on arthropods and worms in preparation for the next leg of a long journey southward.

What migratory birds have you seen this week?


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