Sandpipers, plovers, and storks — oh my!

2008 August 31
by David J. Ringer

GREENE CO., MO. — August is a slow, hot month. Thank goodness for sandpipers and other shorebirds, which start trickling south by July, and for the big waders, which have a delightful habit of wandering around after they’ve finished breeding down south.

I’ve been birding Texas and now Missouri since returning from the South Pacific, and shorebirds and waders have been the story this month for sure. (I should point out that North Americans use the term “shorebirds” to refer to sandpipers, plovers, avocets, stilts, and their kin and the term “waders” for herons, egrets, storks, ibises, and spoonbills. Most other English speakers seem to use the term “waders” for what we call “shorebirds.” Just so we’re clear.)

I got good birds including Upland Sandpiper, Snowy Plover, and Baird’s Sandpiper on a visit to the Village Creek Drying Beds in Fort Worth, and I found over 150 Wood Storks, 20 Roseate Spoonbills, and hundreds of White Ibises and other waders at a location south of Dallas.

My friend Jason Pike and I found two Wood Storks in Rusk County, Texas, last weekend, and I found a Tricolored Heron and Neotropic Cormorants at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge on Thursday. The big story in Texas, of course, was the Jabiru in the Valley, but that was about 500 miles too far for me to travel.

Yesterday, Charley Burwick and I birded the Aldrich area around Stockton Lake here in Missouri, and we got dozens of Black Terns plus Western, Semipalmated, Stilt, and Least Sandpipers and Semipalmated Plovers. We missed the Least Terns that Greg Swick and Marvin DeJong had seen the day before though.

Try as we might, we couldn’t find Buff-breasted Sandpipers on the flats or in the fields. Next time!

It’s good to be back in North America.

Related posts:

  1. Wood Storks, etc. at Mississippi River Nature Weekend
  2. Storkfest in the swamp
  3. Blowin’ in the wind

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