Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Narrow Edge and Red Knots

The Narrow Edge in paperback 
Author Deborah Cramer has issued her third book titled The Narrow Edge, and she spends considerable time in the Lowcountry looking for the Red Knot shorebirds. She is also helping to raise awareness of their plight by educating interested groups up and down the coast, and with a recent article in Audubon and the NY Times. In March of 2016 she spoke to the Sun City Hilton Head Bird Club, and now she is in Charleston to take part in a special luncheon on Friday May 13 in association with Blue Bicycle Books and Hall's Chophouse.

Lowcountry of SC map found on page 122
This 280-page paperback book has 12 chapters but only Chapter Eight addresses the South Carolina Lowcountry and other tidelands, and includes a fine map of red knot hot spots. Cramer accurately describes how rice culture and plantation cultivation created thousands of acres of wetland habitat for ducks, shorebirds, wading birds and more. Today about 70,000-acres of managed wetlands are still in use in the Lowcountry, and Cramer praises the collaborative efforts that have led to protection and preservation efforts in what is now known as the ACE Basin.

Prestigious SELC award winning book
The presence of horseshoe crabs at Cape Romain and the Tom Yawkey Preserve, plus their relationship with seas turtles and red knots, hold extra special emphasis for Cramer. As does the sand spits around Little St. Simon's Island where the Altamaha River flows into the Atlantic Ocean. "While I was following knots, South Carolina and Georgia emerged as important stopovers," said Cramer. "Knots are shorebirds but their route north doesn't always follow the shore. There is another route, inland, a ghost route, no longer well traveled but still in use." The author is referring to the Gulf of Mexico and how the knots use Texas as a stepping stone on the way to the Arctic.

When it comes to the wonders of migration, shorebirds seem to be the best at it, routinely flying from the bottom of the world up to the top and then back again. When it comes to tourism, coastal South Carolina is half-way between Miami and New York, and therefore the Lowcountry is within geographic reach of the large population living on the East Coast. In terms of shorebird migration, that same S.C. coastline is about halfway between South America and the Arctic, making the Lowcountry an excellent location for shorebirds like the red knot to pause and feed before continuing to migrate. While both tourists and shorebirds will stay in the Lowcountry for just a short time, it's only a matter of time until they return.

To view past blog entries about Red Knots click on Moonbird book - Endangered Species Act

To view past book reviews click on Tall Timbers - Edisto River - Audubon's Aviary - Lefty Kreh - Guy Harvey - Year of the PigShrimp, Collards and Grits - Passion of the Wild - Kayak Fishing - Longleaf Alliance

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