Wasaga Beach is a great place to family portraits, which is what I was doing when Tammy pointed out this shore bird running in the surf. I was intent on what I was doing and it had run right up behind me. So of course I took a few photos, challenging to identify it’s first year fall/winter plumage. they spend the summers in the high Arctic, migrating south for winter.
Why the fake bird? Biologists are trying to establish the population on Sarasota Beach, unfortunately the local crows enjoy the eggs so a girl goes out each morning and places these decoys and eggs. The idea is that the crows eat the decoy eggs which are actually some other birds eggs. These decoy eggs have been injected with a substance that will cause the crow to vomit and not like plover eggs. hmmmm
The beaches at Siesta Key Florida are so very beautiful, these Willets run up and down the beach in the sunset looking for snacks in the sand, how lucky they are! Willets are often seen alone. They walk deliberately, pausing to probe for crabs, worms and other prey in sand and mudflats, or to pick at insects and mollusks.
Almost all of my snipe photos include a fence or fence post… yes a road is boring but it’s nice to have a change of Snipe scenery! It was sitting in the middle of the road, I’m amazed that I didn’t run over it while driving past the peat swamps south of Dundalk. Anyhow, here it is, a Snipe on the road lol.
If these aren’t Solitary Sandpipers, let me know and I’ll change it!
The critical pieces of information needed to make your observation valuable are band combination, sighting location, and date. We recommend the use of a spotting scope when reading colorbands from any distance farther than a few yards. When looking through a spotting scope use one eye and then the other; each eye perceives color slightly differently. As a bird moves and turns it often becomes easier to recognize individual colors. As a result, it is not uncommon for even the most experienced band readers to observe for more than 10 minutes before they are confident in a combination. As a result of time, UV radiation and salt water, colorbands often fade and do not appear exactly as one would expect (see below).
Although good observations may be made during any time of day, the best light for identifying colorbands is early morning or evening when there are fewer direct shadows on the bands and legs of the bird. Make an effort to ensure that the sun is behind you and not backlighting (behind) the bird and shining directly into your eyes.
Report a colorband combination by recording the combination seen from top to bottom on the left leg and then recording the combination seen on the right leg in the same manner. Colorblind individuals may have difficulty identifying some of band colors but should keep track of the relative lightness and darkness of each band observed. If possible, all observers should work in pairs and compare results.
The colors of bands listed above are used on Great Lakes Piping Plovers. If you see colors that do not match the options above or extended bands (“flags”), do not try to “make” them fit. Other populations of Piping Plovers are marked using flags and different band colors. Report what you see and your observations will be passed on to Piping Plover recovery coordinators and researchers. Second only to the bands, the location and date of the sighting are very important (see the Color Band Sighting Report Form [PDF]).
Driving along a Grey County road we spotted these three tiny Killdeer chicks, two fled for the ditch and one decided to blend with the road, so of course we had to stop and take a photo.
Hoping the Plovers had arrived … nope they had not, but the Killdeers had!
Every year for many years this Snipe has returned to his post on Grey Road 32. I was quite happy to see him today.
Early spring at Wasaga Beach a small number of Plovers arrive. Volunteers guard the stretch of the beach that they lay their eggs in. The Plovers are so unaware of danger that their survival rate is very low. Dogs, people stepping on the nests, and even high winds and big waves are all dangers to these tiny birds. This poor little soul has five leg tags on him!
Hands down, early morning canoeing is best for birding pics. We canoed right up to this little guy.
This Snipe has been visiting us every year for as long as I can remember, it stands on this post resting one leg. I often refer to is as “the one legged Snipe” I wonder how old it is? How long do they live for?
Gaurded by volunteers 24 hours a day, this pair of Piping Plovers have returned to Wasaga Beach to nest. Sadly the chicks rarely make it, they are tiny and frail, between big waves sweeping them away, dogs, people, and predators they have a hard time raising their chicks.