Saturday, March 10, 2012

September's Forgotten Solitary -- Oops!

          The regular readership of Pluff Mud Perspectives will remember a recent post entitled, September Birding at Patriots Point Nature Trail & Mystery Birds.  In it, I described three non-sequential days of birding during peak migration season along the Patriots Point Nature Trail in Mount Pleasant, SC.   I am not sure what thought processes today led me to realize that I had neglected to include in that post a very nicely photographed bird.  How could I forget this wonderful bird that "walked on water."  It was my best look ever at a Solitary Sandpiper.  And somehow, I had unintentionally omitted him.   This can only mean that he merits his very own post!

          So here is his story.  After watching the large flock of Bobolinks take flight from the reeds and ferns around a retention pond.  I noticed this fellow walking out from under the brush at the side of the pond.  He walked out on top of the very thick duck weed on the pond!  I never knew duck weed could be so thick as to support the weight of a decent sized sandpiper.  He was quite beautiful and perky!  I so enjoyed watching him.  What a cooperative subject!

Solitary Sandpiper -- Patriots Point Nature Trail -- September 11, 2011

              This is a bird that we will only see in the migration season as it breeds in the boreal forests of Canada and Alaska and it winters in the tropics (Latin America and parts of South America).  It has earned its name because it generally migrates solo rather than in flocks.  Another interesting tidbit -- this sandpiper nests in trees, in old nests of other species!  I found these interesting bits of information on the subscription site Birds of North America Online -- a service sponsored by Cornell Lab of Ornithology and The American Ornithologists' Union --  a tool that I have found to be repeatedly useful as I learn about different birds.

Solitary Sandpiper -- Patriots Point Nature Trail -- Mount Pleasant, SC -- September 11, 2011

              I am so glad that I FINALLY remembered to publish his photos!  What a shame it was to leave out the Solitary loner!  The plus side, however, is that I have taken the time now to learn something more about him, and then, in turn to share this information with you.  As it turns out, relatively little is known about this tree-nesting species!  This makes him a rich area of for future research --  perhaps for some future, aspiring ornithologist.

Moskoff, William. 2011. Solitary Sandpiper (Tringa solitaria), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online:

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