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Saturday Morning Bird Walks


The unmistakable American Oystercatcher. Photo by France Paulsen.

The secretive and hard-to-see Piping Plover. Photo by France Paulsen.

From the Santiva Chronicle:

At one end of the viewing spectrum sits the American Oystercatcher, unmistakable for its beauty and as easy to pick out as a Roseate Spoonbill. At the other end of the spectrum sits the Piping Plover. It spends its life blending into the beach. Unless it moves, it’s likely to be overlooked.

Recently, about 30 birdwatchers on Sanibel-Captiva Audubon Society’s Saturday Morning Bird Walk saw both birds and many others at historic Bunche Beach. The birders were coming off an amazing walk the Saturday before on Wildlife Drive at ‘Ding’ Darling NWR, so the bar was high at Bunche Beach.

“It was another fabulous bird walk,” said veteran birder Hugh Verry, who organizes the Saturday morning sashays to birding hot spots. “We came for the shorebirds and shorebirds we got.”

Four different plover species were seen: Black-bellied, Wilson’s, Semipalmated and the near-threatened Piping.

“With an estimated world population of 6,000, the Piping Plover is a great bird to see,” Verry said.

As was the case at ‘Ding’ Darling, the Bunche Beach tide was correct for great birding. Sanderlings – 75 of them – were doing their wave-dodging dance in the company of Ruddy Turnstones, several sandpiper species, terns, gulls and a seven-spot of Red Knots that flew in to give the group an up-close look.

Then there was the Oystercatcher.

“For sheer beauty, the lone Oystercatcher took Bird of the Day,” Verry said.

Saturday Morning Bird Walks continue through April 7. They begin at 8 a.m. and gather at specified meeting places. All are welcome to join San-Cap Aububon’s experienced leaders on the walks, which are tailored to hit the hot spots at the right time.

For a full listing of bird walk meeting places, click here.

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