This last Friday was my last “official” SOS Survey at Virgin Creek. SOS Survey season ends with this weekend. While the season ends I have and will continued with my surveys at Virgin Creek because I (and others) think that it’s too early and my data provides needed information for late Fall and Winter shorebirds. I also think that the shorebird season is just getting interesting. On a whole I think that migration has been late this season. We have seen no Dunlin returning. Some think that the hot weather in the far North might be the reason for this.
The SOS people wanted us to share our stories about this season. They will publish them in the local Audubon newsletter later. My last survey was probably the most exciting of the season. Here is what I wrote on the SOS Website:
Fri Sep 13, 2013—My last “official” SOS Survey was the most exciting of the
season. I was having a good shorebird day at Virgin Creek this morning. Had all
my birds lined up nicely in the plentiful kelp as I walked the beach. No dogs.
No people. Things were going well. Had my camera lined up to take the “perfect”
Whimbrel picture. Then all hell broke out. Every shorebird in the area took
flight. I looked up to find not one but two PEREGRINE FALCONS literally dive
bombing the kelp 20 feet from me. They did this for what seemed a long time. I
saw one chase a Godwit out to sea. They left the beach flying to the south.
Needless to say the beach was bare after that. I checked my camera to see if I
caught any of it and was disappointed because my camera was too slow to capture
much of the action. The shorebirds started to come back but my survey was
screwed. On my way back up the beach it happened again with just one of the
falcons. It flew just a few feet over my head and then flew south just 2 feet
over the kelp. I got a picture that I just downloaded to my shorebird file. It
was a first year PEFA. No shorebirds were harmed during the survey.
The perfect Whimbrel picture that never happened is this one.
The reason for this sudden flight was this.
Can’t beat a day like that.
The Buff-breasted Sandpiper on Thursday was number 231 for the year with over 2094 truck miles saved.