Friday, June 24, 2011
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Sunday, June 5, 2011
“The Sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”
Saturday morning, the alarm went off way to early, (4:45 a.m.) but I forced myself out of bed, gabbed my binoculars, Sibley's, and camera, stopped for coffee (you can get a small coffee for free at the Tom Thumb before 10:00 a.m. ) and made my way to Navarre Beach Park Sounside.
It's shorebird counting time again. The same group that did this count for the Audubon Society last year is doing it again this year. Last year's count was to establish a baseline, and this year's count is important to see if the BP oil spill has affected the migratory paths and numbers of shorebirds that normally arrive on our shores. The real count begins in July, but this weekend we took part in a Shorebird Stewardship Program. We walked and investigated certain areas of the beach and sound to see if we could spot nesting sites. Then we report them to our Audubon stewardship leader, and hopefully these sites can be roped off and signed so that people will leave them undisturbed.
We found a site that seemed to be a nesting site for Wilson's Plovers. Once the location is reported, the site can then, hopefully, be roped off and signed so that people will leave the area undisturbed during nesting season. Already chicks are all over the Island and drivers have to be alert for these little cuties as they sometimes want to cross the road.
In addition to the new nesting site, we also saw a great many shorebirds, some new, some old friends.
Sunrise over the Sound
Black Skimmer--so named because of the way they skim the water to fish. The lower bill is longer than the upper which helps them scoop up food.
An old friend. This is a Reddish Egret. These birds are fun to watch as they forage for food. Their behavior is almost comical as they run, spin, flap their wings as they literally chase fish through the shallow water.
Wilson's Plover standing guard at nesting site. The adult plovers were sending up quite a racket as we walked along, convincing us that we had indeed found their nesting area. So as not to upset the birds, we left after making note of the location.