Friday, February 20, 2015

Banded Piping Plover at Fort Desoto

Cool, windy afternoon at Fort Desoto Park on Feb 14. 2015.  Not many birds along the beach or on the fishing piers.....way too windy!
Great birding spot along the Great Florida Birding Trail....guarding the entrance to Tampa Bay.

Olivia Scott photo
Bad hair day for this Snowy Egret (Egreta thula) of the few birds on the pier, looking for a handout.
And an uncommon Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens) with ruffled feathers, trying to keep warm!  Not much else around the pier... to the southern end of the park where the shallow beach is protected from the NW wind and there should be some "peeps."

This is a great little birding spot.  Shallow beach....great feeding spot for wintering "peeps"....and a wonderful view of the Sunshine Skyway.
"Peepsville"....let us see what we can see today!
Quite a few feeding Dowitchers.....Long-billed Dowitchers (Limnodromus scolopaceus), I believe.  Seen in this same spot for several winters....must be some tasty invertebrates buried in the sand.
In the foreground here, a Dunlin (Calidris alpina)...smaller than the Dowitchers and with the characteristic drooping bill.
Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus)  common on our winter Gulf of Mexico beaches.
Great Blue Heron (Ardea Herodias)....standing guard while the little birds forage the shallows.
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The highlight of the day was this little guy.....a banded Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus).
Facebook's Florida Banded Bird Resightings page, I sent the above photo to
Jared A. Stirling
US Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District
Threatened and Endangered Species Section
Got nice e-mail reply
Hi Steven,
Thanks for reporting this banded piping plover! This bird was banded as a chick by researchers from Virginia Tech in July 2012 on the Missouri River near Yankton, SD. Thanks again and let me know if you have any questions.
Meryl Friedrich –
Meryl is a Research Specialist with the Virginia Tech Shorebird Program. She earned a B.A. from Denison University, double majoring in Biology and Environmental Studies. Since 2011, her work on the Missouri River piping plover and least tern project has included analyzing the mate and site fidelity of Piping Plovers on the Missouri River, managing the database, and corresponding with people who resight color banded plovers on the wintering grounds.
Above is a link to the wonderful VT Shorebird website......worth a look.
And THANKS Meryl, your e-mail made a cold afternoon of birding into a memorable trip!