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Welcome Again, Shorbies! – 10,000 Birds


If you realize me, then you’re nicely conscious of how a lot I 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 truth – about members of this household that haven’t solely taken a maintain of me, but it surely virtually 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 dwell a number of occasions to start to fathom it. How can one thing so miniscule bust out of an opaque egg and instantly start the preparation for a thousand-mile journey – that’s typically made with none grownup accompaniment – is totally past this human’s understanding. I, like lots of you I’m certain, spent a few years helpless; I used to be nicely into my teenagers earlier than I used to be allowed to remain at dwelling on my own, far much less go wherever!

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 type of “gated neighborhood” in just a few years. I’m hoping it doesn’t come to cross, as there may be little finished to control issues like chemical utilization and so forth in T&T. Lots of the smaller species of shorebirds (such because the already endangered – technically Close to Threatened – Semipalmated Sandpiper) feed on biofilm and are tremendously inclined to poisonous chemical substances. 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 look at migratory shorebirds.

A Semipalmated Sandpiper feeds on the water’s edge.

Noticed Sandpipers are among the mostly seen shorebirds in T&T, probably not due to their absolute quantity however extra so attributable to their prevalence in numerous habitats close to to water.

A Higher 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. One in every of these appeared to be mates 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 obtained me desirous about what has been their historical past, and the way a lot of it was shared by these two people. Did they journey collectively? Have 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, they usually have been nonetheless collectively. After they shifted location, they did so collectively. One thing else shorebird-related to maintain me up at evening.


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 one of the best of settings. I went to show the automobile round, and by the point I returned, it was gone.

You’ll be able to view the total checklist 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 among 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 submit would go on endlessly!

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


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