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Least is more…

by Lanny McDowell on August 26, 2010



Least Sandpipers really are the littlest shorebirds, the least of the shorebird family.  This one is a juvenile, this year’s fledgling, born on the high Arctic tundra, left by its parents to fend for itself amidst the bloom of summer’s thick insect hatch.  Then it self-starts a migratory journey to winter in the southern states or beyond, as far as mid-way down the South American continent.  They are six inches long.

When the adults pass through earlier than this, they are typically worn, drab and colored a smudgy brown.   Some say they look like they have been dipped in tea, a denser brown than other peeps.  The youngsters, like the one pictured below, have crisp fresh plumage, all the feathers sharp, well defined and the colors distinct and rich, the whites bright white.

Bad weather is good for birding and birders feel like adventurers taking on the elements.  This Leastie was one of three working the muddied and puddled dirt road running across the Farm Institute at Katama, just as the strong easterly blow was subsiding.

Birds need to tend to their feathers, in detail.  In the process, this one appears to be in a state of preening ecstasy.













 Birds are cool!  Lanny

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

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State of the Union at Global Conservation Alliance

by Lanny McDowell on February 15, 2010


Here is an update on where we stand right now.  By the way, the new name for our shorebird project within GCA is The Red Knot Survival Project.

I was just reading about non-profits and who gives to them, who the supporters are.  Well it turns out that 75% of the money donated comes from private individuals.  That is pretty astounding, and also encouraging.  As of this writing, Global Conservation Alliance has received money donations from various individuals, from one corporate contributor and from one conservation organization donor.

GCA members have traveled to Delaware Bay to work there the last two years, in 2008 and 2009; and we anticipate going back this year.  Our target dates are May 22 until June 1st.  The full moon, when horseshoe crabs gather in the most dense numbers to lay their eggs, because the higher tides of the full and new moons take them further up the beach, occurs on the 27th of May this year, right in the middle of our stay.  Also, it happens that the historical departure date for Red Knots leaving en masse for the Arctic occurs on some afternoon between the 27th and the 29th of May. [click to continue...]