|Red Knot with leg bands|
Birding on Edisto Island recently I saw some Dunlin shorebirds in a freshwater impoundment. They had a special patch of breeding feathers on their belly that was black in color, and they were simply stopping by for some rest and food before heading on to the North. These birds are so small that their black bellies were just about in the inky waters they were feeding in, requiring a second look to correctly identify their presence.
|Click here for a link to Moonbird by Phillip Hoose|
The Rufa Red Knot shorebird is the subject of the Phillip Hoose book titled Moonbird, which was published in 2012. Hoose is a graduate of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Services, and served 37 years as a staff member for The Nature Conservancy. Another book he penned, The Race to Save the Lord God Bird, is about the now-extinct Ivory-Billed Woodpecker. Moonbird is about one particular Red Knot but it raises awareness that their species is in decline and is now protected as an Endangered Species.
Red Knots migrate from the tip of Argentina, called Tierra Del Fuego, all the way to the Mingan Archipelago in Quebec, Canada. When flying the northbound leg they use the East Coast as a stopover point to rest and replenish their energy via food sources. Delaware Bay is the main stopover but Jacksonville, Florida will see some Red Knot traffic and so will a few precious spots in South Carolina.
One such spot is Harbor Island beach on St. Helena Island just south of Beaufort. Ornithologist Dr. Sid Gauthreaux counted 59 Red Knots there on May 9, and the South Carolina Wildlife Federation (SCWF) saw more of them on the weekend of May 17 and 18. Hoose was the SCWF guest of honor for a Saturday night social at the Penn Center that weekend for members of their Pro Birder Series.
To view this article in its entirety in the newspaper click on Colletonian.
To view other bird sightings click on Birding Journal Observations.
Ben Gregg is the Exec. Dir. of the S.C. Wildlife Federation and he shares these remarks: