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Katama

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I saw a Ruff once before in the US. It was really, really far away, through my scope at the John Forsythe NWR at Brigantine, NJ.   The Reeve we saw yesterday and today in Edgartown was much easier to see, although it was very foggy at Katama and it took us a while to catch on to what we had in our sights.

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These images and Avian Art fine art prints are available for purchase. Contact me or View my gallery.

Birds are cool!  Lanny

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lan-020208-014c-sq-blk-cln120x1222Every once in a while I do a piece for the Vineyard Gazette, some text and a selection of photos to match.  This time the subjects are two shorebird species that nest on the  Vineyard, which many people recognize and know something about: Piping Plovers and American Oystercatchers, the wistful and the goofy.

The working title was Avian Beach Dwellers, Iconic Shorebirds Nesting on the Vineyard. Here is the text for the feature in this Friday’s Vineyard Gazette (July 3rd) interspersed with relevant bird photos.

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The Secret Life of Island Shorebirds

by Lanny McDowell

The group of birds referred to as shorebirds includes a wide array of species.  There are all the sandpipers and all the plovers.  There are turnstones, godwits, curlews, avocets, woodcock and phalaropes as well.  On Martha’s Vineyard we are fortunate  to still have the right sorts of habitat to attract a few shorebird nesters.  We have Willets in the tidal marshes at a number of locations; and it is possible there are still Killdeer and Spotted  Sandpipers, although four-legged predators have made them exceptionally scarce.  The real standout shorebird nesters on the Vineyard are iconic at this point:  the Piping Plover, because it is truly endangered and represents a tug of war between recreationalists and conservationists over beach use use at a certain time of the year, and the American Oystercatcher, because, simply put, it is the most outrageous looking and acting feathered beast to be found in these parts. [click to continue...]

Martha’s Vineyard, morning birding at Katama

by Lanny McDowell on June 20, 2009

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The beach drive out to Norton Point on the Vineyard’s south shore is only open for a portion of its length.  The rest is closed because Oystercatchers, Piping Plovers and Least Terns have young to feed.  And the beach should be closed.  One of the Trustees of Reservations‘ “shorebird technicians” was headed out to make her protective rounds and told me there are something like 681 Least Tern pairs in the colony near the tidal cut into Katama Bay.  That is a really nice big number of Least Terns, maybe a quarter of the state’s nesting pairs, according to the tech.  We wish them all the luck they will need to fledge some youngsters.  The odds are stacked against, but we can hope.  We can resist recreational vehicles on the beach at the wrong time of the year.  We can support the effort.  [click to continue...]