Monday, November 8, 2010

Red Knot - a Visit to Bunche Beach

Red Knot - a Visit to Bunche Beach
Wednesday, November 3rd

Tropical Storm Tomas was churning out in the Gulf of Mexico and we had been experiencing feeder bands with rain and winds.  There was no danger for Southwest Florida from this storm, but the winds did offer a chance of pelagic birds to be pushed toward our shore. So, following work on Wednesday morning I headed over to Bunche Beach were I expected low tides.  However the winds were piling waster into Estero Bay and the shore birds were gathered up on the little bit of the sand flats left exposed. Arrived about 8:15am and found a lot of birds huddled near the north inlet.
Willets, a Marbled Godwit, Short-billed Dowitchers and Red Knots
 Hundreds of Black Skimmers were found resting on the remaining sand spit and would frequently take flight and quickly return. Often a single bird would call an alarm all would take off.  No idea what danger they perceived as no falcons or eagles seemed to be at hand. There was a female Blue-winged Teal that kept flighting through the skimmers, trying to find a spot to join the gang.  Some of her swoops would cause the cloud of birds to climb. No idea what a teal was doing here, but it was interesting.  Other birds resting with the skimmers included a couple of Royal Terns, a few Forster's Terns a couple of Common Terns and a few Sandwich Terns. Some Laughing Gulls were present.
The Red Knot a center sports a green flag
Concentrations of Willets, Short-billed Dowitchers and Dunlins were here plus some Red Knots, Lots of Sanderlings, a couple of Piping Plovers, Black-belled Plovers a about three Wilson's Plovers. Always have several Semipalmated Plovers present too. A couple of Ruddy Turnstones, a lone Western Sandpiper and about six Marbled Godwits.

Red Knot - EV4
Did try to pay attention to the sky with the idea of catching sight of pelagic birds.  I don't own a scope, so I'm limited to what my bins can do for me. The usual Brown Pelicans, Gulls and Terns, plus a couple of Roseate Spoonbills and a Magnificent Frigetbid were seen over head. A couple of years ago I had the fortune to find a few Bridled Terns flying low at this spot on a day with similar weather conditions. But today the peligaics I could spot were overhead.  Way overhead. About a dozen dark birds were soaring above, much too high for a good observation. They were were seen basically in silhouette, with square tails and crooked wings and were dark.  No other color noted.  My first though were jaegers.  Later I considered brown noddy's. But I don't know what I had found. There is definitely a large learning curve in this area.
The hundreds of Black Skimmers would take flight, circle and return.

As the tide would rise, the Black Skimmers would finally move on.
My list (29)
Blue-winged Teal, Brown Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Magnificent Frigatebird, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Reddish Egret, White Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Osprey, Black-bellied Plover, Wilson's Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Piping Plover, Willet, Marbled Godwit, Ruddy Turnstone, Red Knot, Sanderling, Western Sandpiper, Dunlin, Short-billed Dowitcher, Laughing Gull, Common Tern, Forster's Tern, Royal Tern, Sandwich Tern, Black Skimmer, Mourning Dove

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I can't believe how many birds you saw on this trip... I am very impressed with the photos of the Black Skimmers!