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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Fall Shorebird Migration Underway

It started in July and it will continue into September.  At first it was just adult birds, but now this year's young have joined in the epic journey from the arctic to the equator.  Being a land-locked state, many shorebirds that enter Vermont's airspace likely fly straight through without pause.  But where lake and river levels drop or fields flood, exposing open mud, shorebirds can touch down to refuel.  Now is the time to look for shorebirds in Vermont!

Shorebirds can show up pretty much anywhere in the state that their preferred open, wet habitat exists.  As with most migrants, shorebirds are funneled into the Lake Champlain and Connecticut River valleys, making them hard to find in central Vermont.  Any birder wanting to experience Vermont shorebirding at its best should visit these regions, where some "hotspots" exist that tend to harbor larger numbers and greater diversity.  One such location is Delta Park in Colchester, where the Winooski River empties into Lake Champlain.

Below is a gallery of just a few of more than 20 shorebird species that have been observed at Delta Park over the past few years:

Semipalmated Plover
Pectoral Sandpiper
Baird's Sandpiper
Merlin, after an unsuccessful attempt to hunt shorebirds

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