Thursday, April 15, 2010

Shorebirds on Magee causeway

Birders going to Magee Marsh Wildlife Area in the near future should check for shorebirds along the causeway. On the road going north from Route 2 to the beach and the boardwalk, the causeway is the last stretch that runs straight north across the marsh itself. Today (Thursday April 15) the water level in the area west of the road was low in places, exposing some good shorebird flats. Late in the evening, scoping from the second of the three pullouts along the causeway, I saw 8 Greater Yellowlegs, 14 Lesser Yellowlegs, 2 Dunlin, one Wilson's Snipe, 6 Killdeer, and one Short-billed Dowitcher. (This early part of the migration is a good time to look for Long-billed Dowitcher, but this bird was Short-billed, as identified by call as well as by structure and plumage.) There were fewer birds in this area when I checked earlier in the evening, indicating that the birds move around a lot, so it's worthwhile to take a look at this habitat both on your way to the boardwalk and after you leave. Pectoral Sandpipers should be in this area too, and this kind of marshy spot is a good place to look for Ruffs in spring migration.

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