Monday, 17 September 2018

Shorebirds at Long Beach

Since the Sargassum Seaweed began its invasion of our beaches a few years ago, Long Beach has been a magnet for shorebirds during their migration.  This year was no different, that was until the passing of Tropical Storm Isaac to the north of the island on Thursday September 13th then the numbers quadruple.  I visited Long Beach around midday on that day- hundreds of shorebirds birds of various species could be seen all over the beach busy feeding but my visit was cut short, thanks to a big,big biiig unleashed dog, roving the beach.  I had no time to do a count of the birds but i did noticed 4 Red Knots which was impressive for the island.  Dr. John Webster visited the following day, (see his checklist here) and reported extraordinary numbers of Semipalmated Sandpipers (490), White-rumped Sandpipers (240), Ruddy Turnstones (210), Sanderlings (90) and Red Knots (6).
Red Knot

I visited Long Beach again on the morning of Saturday September 15th, but again a count proved difficult as a cleaning of the beach was being undertaken by Clean up Barbados.  Hundreds of birds took to the sky every time an unsuspecting volunteer disturbed their feeding, giving a visual display of the vast numbers on the beach.  I am happy that these at-risk migrants have found a much needed source of sustenance on their yearly flight to greener pastures.  Let’s hope that Long Beach and beaches like it across the Caribbean or the Americas as a matter of fact, continue to provide safe havens for these travelers.   
P.S: A visit to Long Beach the following day found a drastic reduction in the number of birds.
see more images here
Birding ending dog!!

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