A little more about shore bird habitat. Then
some specifics about particular species. I invite others to jump in with more
specifics, or even to take issue with some of mine.
The whole issue what is good shorebird habitat
is complicated by the fact that, while the best shore birding often occurs where
a pond, lake, fluddle or waterfowl management area is draining or drying
out, some of these areas already have some vegetation in them, and new grass
will spring up soon in the others. On the coasts, mudflats are covered twice
daily by the tides, and most of them never grass over. In the interior, it
happens most of the time. For that reason, interior shore birding is very
dynamic. Except for the rare refuge or conservation area that deliberately
manages for shore birds, the birds must be opportunistic -- and so also must be
The problem of vegetation is much worse during
the summer/fall migration. There
are fewer mudflats then, and the new grass comes on very quickly.
Most shore birds are found in association with
water, but not all of them. However, even those whose preferred habitat has
little or nothing to do with ponds or mudflats will show up occasionally near
water -- frequently in the dryer edge areas. For example, American-Golden
Plovers are going through right now. Their greatest numbers are likely to be on
the bare dirt of disked agricultural fields. However, a few are apt to show up
near ponds throughout the spring migration. An especially good place to look for
American Golden-plovers in spring is in the blackened areas of very
recently-burned grassland. Buff-breasted Sandpipers evidently go through
quite rapidly in spring, because they are rarely reported then. The best time
and place to find them is on a sod farm in August. Nevertheless, a few
show up in either season around a pond or lake that is drying out, especially in
areas where new grass is just beginning to sprout. I have seen Buffies in dry
disked fields. Sod farms are also good places to find returning Golden Plovers.
(Most Golden Plovers migrate up the center of the U.S. in spring, take an
Atlantic route back to the Argentinean pampas in fall.)
It's 4:30 a.m., and I'm getting sleepy. I'll
conclude with a very short explanatory poem and continue later.
WHY I'M AT THE WORD PROCESSOR AT 4:00
It's just a ruse
to get my muse
to tell her news
before I snooze.