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Monday, February 11, 2008

Birding St. Simon's

We went birding this weekend on St. Simon's Island, GA, with a group from the Albany Audubon Society of GA. Can you spot 6 '2" Don? Three of the menbers were sporting our Stokes DLS binoculars! St. Simons has wide unspoiled beaches with lots of sand bars for birds to rest undisturbed.

It was low tide, so the group could walk out for a long way onto the tidal flats. As we walked through the beachgoers on the upper beach several people said "you be sure and get some good photos." They did not realize we were birders carrying spotting scopes, not cameras. Not many birdwatchers visit St. Simon's. Makes you realize, a vast amount of this country's population know nothing about birding, birds, or the value of conserving birds. We who are birders have our work cut out for us.

One of the highlights was looking through our spotting scopes at 5 Piping Plovers. Here's two of them digiscoped from afar.

Piping Plovers are very cute little shorebirds whose Atlantic Coast population is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

Another treat were the American Oystercatchers, dramatic black-white-red combo birds, who truly do eat oysters. One of the sounds they make is like a police whistle being blown. We listened to a group of Semipalmated Plovers fly overhead. It's good to get into the sounds of shorebirds, it can be a great ID help.

Everyone participated in searching for and spotting birds. Don glanced up just in time to see a Bonaparte's Gull, unusual here. The dramatic wing pattern helps ID this buoyant small gull. We had a great time. The fun of birding is both seeing the beautiful birds and the camraderie of fellow birders.

4 comments:

Christine said...

Don and Lillian, Thank you for the lovely afternoon spent on the beach at St. Simon's. Who would have thought that a Bird Songs CD pamphlet misprint could turn into such a wonderful opportunity! We ended up with a total of 89 species, and two favorites were the Piping Plover and Bonaparte's Gull. How nice to see the photos of both. Our group will be speaking of this experience for a long time! Christine, Albany Audubon

janet said...

Very nice winter piping plover.

Not just "very cute" but THE cutest shorebird. Cuteness is the major thing they've got going for them in the fight for survival.

janet said...

Nice winter piping plover.

Not just "very cute" but THE cutest shorebirds. Cuteness is the major thing they have going for them in the fight for survival.

http://ploverwardendiaries.blogspot.com/

janet said...

Very nice winter piping plover.

Not just "very cute" but THE cutest shorebird. Cuteness is the major thing they've got going for them in the fight for survival.