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3951Shorebird birding, 28-30 August

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  • Brenda Wright
    Sep 1, 2009
    From 28-30 August Brenda and I visited many shorebird locations. Few shorebirds were found, however. Best bird species, three individuals, was at Ridgway Reservoir and there are three pictures attached. See what you think! Any curlew species is casual at this time of year in western Colorado.
    Shorebirds found were 1 Semipalmated Plover, Ridgway Res on 30 Aug.
    Killdeer at only a few locations.
    American Avocet, 3, at Fruitgrowers Res on 30 Aug.
    Lesser Yellowlegs, 1, near Norwood in Montrose County on 28 Aug.
    Spotted Sandpipers at only a few locations.
    Mystery birds in photos were at Ridgway on 28 Aug. Answer will come tomorrow.
    Least Sandpipers, 3, at Rifle Gap on 29 August and, 2, at Ridgway on 30.
    Baird's Sandpiper, 1, at Rifle Gap on 29 August, 5, at Spring Park Res on 30 August and 20 plus at Fruitgrowers on 30 Aug.
    Long-billed Dowitcher, 2, at Redvale, Montrose County, on 30 Aug.
    Wilson's Snipe, 6-8, at Fruitgrowers on 30 Aug.

    Seems to me there are fewer shorebirds detected each year in western Colorado. We worked hard to find just 10 species at the peak of shorebird migrantion this past weekend. The species we did find were found in very limited numbers. In total there was fewer than 50 individuals.

    Back in the 1980s I kept daily records. In just a few locations around Grand Junction I would find between 50 and 100 individuals per day in late August or early September and averaged about 12 species.

    Fewer shorebirds detected could be because of so many factors like falcons, weather, more places for shorebirds to rest in migration or fewer shorebirds migrating through western Colorado.

    We do not monitor shorebird migration in western Colorado but maybe we should. We could set up a randomly selected number of sites matched with a randomly selected date or dates and follow a set protocol for 10 years. I bet we could generate some good data that may expose some trends.

    We walk transects, drive breeding bird survey routes (BBS) and work atlas projects all for breeding birds. Then there is Christmas Bird Counts (CBC) for wintering birds. We report species in season reports for migrants but the data collected is not useful to determine trends for migrants. This would be a great project for RMBO and maybe they can get some funding.

    Coen and Brenda
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