[birding] Shorebird & E.E. Wilson

Joel Geier jgeier at attglobal.net
Tue May 2 01:52:05 PDT 2006


Hell all,

In response to Rich's question, E.E. Wilson is seldom a hotspot for 
spring shorebirds in general.

It used to be one of the best places around to look for Solitary 
Sandpipers (SoSas) since they favor more secluded and partly vegetated 
ponds. During Dave Budeau's tenure as manager a few years back, he and 
staff would sometimes find upward of a half dozen SoSas scattered around 
the area while they did their rounds. However, in the last couple of 
years it seems that most SoSas are short-stopping at wetlands farther 
south, around Finley last year and this year in Monroe.

Seeing shorebirds in the vegetation is also an issue. During the SAS 
field trip on the 22nd, Glen Lindeman and I saw a ploverish bird flush 
from one shoreline in the south end which does have plenty of exposed 
mud (same place where I saw the Lesser Yellowlegs last month). Glen 
thought it might have been a Black-bellied Plover since it looked dark 
in front, but he did not get enough of a look. We both saw it go into a 
vegetated island so we tried to wait it out, but it never showed itself 
again. It was plover-shaped and had that style of flight, but did not 
act like a Killdeer so I suspect Glen's hunch was right, or else a 
Golden-Plover sp.

Becky & Martha & I saw a flock of Least Sandpipers in one of those 
wetlands along the west side of E.E. Wilson on Sunday, foraging in one 
of the wetlands on a wet "island" that was disked up last year. They 
were hard to see though. I would not have noticed them except I was 
looking at a Killdeer. Most of the best peep habitat on that side of the 
wildlife area is nearly invisible from the roads -- you might spot more 
by scanning with a high-powered scope from the Coffin Butte overlook 
(though good luck ID'ing them at that distance!).

The canal & angling ponds are seldom good for shorebirds this time of 
year due to heavy angler traffic (looked like about 30 people out there 
on Sunday) but can be better in fall migration, especially if they do a 
drawdown.

There are still quite a few wet spots in the grass fields around here 
which are almost completely invisible from the roads this time of year. 
Back when I was patrolling the grass fields more often, I would 
sometimes find peep flocks and tringas out in the grass fields in these 
kind of conditions.

Bottom line, I think shorebirds have a lot of choices this year and a 
lot of those choices may not be very favorable for birders who want to 
see them.

Good luck,
Joel





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