Monday, September 8, 2014

World Shorebird Day

Last Saturday (September 6th) was the first annual World Shorebird Day.  That, along with a recent email describing the shorebirds found during a recent visit by another Montana birder (thanks Ed), finally got me to prioritize some time to get to Spidel Waterfowl Management Area near Broadview, MT.  It is a rather shallow water body and it often doesn't have much if any water in it, but this spring it filled up good and summer rains have kept the water levels fairly high with enough exposed shoreline to continue to be attractive to migrating shorebirds. I had hoped to get to Spidel much sooner than this, but life conspired against me for planned outings for much of the summer. This time I made it work and it was well worth it. The wetland area sits to the east of the access road so afternoons are best for viewing.  The weather Saturday was gorgeous too. No wind, sunny, and pleasant temps. We arrived late in the afternoon and had great light and there were lots of birds. Most of the birds were molting waterfowl sitting on the far side of the lake, but there were scattered bunches of small sandpipers and American Avocets along the near shoreline.

There were also mixed flocks of a variety of other shorebirds, including Baird's Sandpipers, Stilt Sandpipers, Least Sandpipers, Lesser Yellowlegs, and Greater Yellowlegs.

Even the Killdeer were photogenic in the golden evening light.

We weren't the only ones there looking for shorebirds.

This Peregrine Falcon was chasing shorebirds at the far end of the lake and generally causing a ruckus wherever he was including a few passes at a Northern Harrier passing through. There were also a few California Gulls hanging around and as the sun set a large number of Franklin's Gulls flew in to the lake from the south.

It was great to finally get out and look at (and photograph) some wildlife.


Steve Bodio said...

Some of those golden sandpiper flocks hold all the beauty and change of autumn, bittersweet, golden warm afternoons in a cooling world...

Do you know the song "Urge for Going"? Great northern fall song, written by an Albertan, sung recently by an old man from New Hampshire (on my blog now), who recorded it when we were all young-- that is an OLD "we", John!

Great photos.

Steve Bodio said...

Second look: that second Avocet is an incredible composition comparable only to a Quinn watercolor...

You ought to show your readers your Quinn sometime!