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Welcome Again, Shorbies! – 10,000 Birds


    If you understand me, then you might be effectively conscious of how a lot I really like shorebirds. Even when writing my guide with all ardent efforts to stay unbiased; the part on Sandpipers & Allies was by far the longest – surpassing mega-families like Thraupidae and Tyrannidae. There’s something – many issues in reality – about members of this household that haven’t solely taken a maintain of me, but it surely nearly feels as if they’ve taken root inside my very own being.

    See, being in tune with the migration of tiny, globe-trotting birds appears like a secret window to a life so grand we might have to every stay a number of instances to start to fathom it. How can one thing so miniscule bust out of an opaque egg and instantly begin the preparation for a thousand-mile journey – that’s usually made with none grownup accompaniment – is totally past this human’s understanding. I, like a lot of you I’m positive, spent a few years helpless; I used to be effectively into my teenagers earlier than I used to be allowed to remain at residence on my own, far much less go anyplace!

    Anyway, I digress. Such is life with me when I’ve shorebirds – or shorbs, or shorbies, or a random unintelligible noise after I see them fluff their feathers – on my thoughts. Suffice to say I’m thrilled to be seeing them once more.

    A pair days in the past I paid a go to to (what was) a wetland in southwest Tobago. Presently, the birds spend their time feeding within the artifical drainage system inside what’s now designated to be some form of “gated neighborhood” in just a few years. I’m hoping it doesn’t come to go, as there may be little completed to manage issues like chemical utilization and so forth in T&T. Most of the smaller species of shorebirds (such because the already endangered – technically Close to Threatened – Semipalmated Sandpiper) feed on biofilm and are tremendously prone to poisonous chemical compounds. Others feed on small invertebrates and fish – of which there nonetheless is a bounty inside these drains. For now, it stays one of many go-to places on the island to watch migratory shorebirds.

    A Semipalmated Sandpiper feeds on the water’s edge.

    Noticed Sandpipers are a few of the mostly seen shorebirds in T&T, probably not due to their absolute quantity however extra so because of their prevalence in varied habitats close to to water.

    A Larger Yellowlegs is pursued by one other after having nabbed a small fish.

    Lesser Yellowlegs can simply be confused with the aforementioned species besides when they’re standing subsequent to one another.

    Usually birds of the coast, it was a bit odd to see a number of Willets on this location. Considered one of these gave the impression to be pals with the lone Whimbrel current – the 2 have been inseparable. Actually it was comical to see each birds feed collectively, get flushed collectively, fly collectively – it actually received me interested by what has been their historical past, and the way a lot of it was shared by these two people. Did they journey collectively? Had been they hatched close to to one another? Did one present some help to the opposite in its time of want? I noticed them for a while, left and returned, and so they have been nonetheless collectively. Once they shifted location, they did so collectively. One thing else shorebird-related to maintain me up at night time.


    There was additionally a Least Sandpiper on the street that I didn’t {photograph}, in addition to a Pectoral Sandpiper I opted to not {photograph} because it wasn’t in the very best of settings. I went to show the automobile round, and by the point I returned, it was gone.

    You may view the total record of that quick morning session right here.

    Yesterday I spent a pair hours at one other location on Tobago with extra Noticed Sandpipers, some Semipalmated Plovers, and arguably one in every of my favorite shorebirds of all – a White-rumped Sandpiper. I’ll spare you the small print as to why I like it a lot. This publish would go on eternally!

    What shorebirds have you ever been seeing as they journey southward?