Charlie Barnard has once again had a great sighting this March and supplied us with some fascinating information and wonderful photos. His story illustrates why we should all remember to examine each of the birds of even the expected species as you never know when you will find something out of the ordinary. While at Long Beach in Stratford on March 11 Charlie spotted a flagged Sanderling among 150 or so more of the species and 200 Dunlin also present. The light green flag was on its upper left leg and read J4N. The lower right leg had the typical silver metal federal band.
Somehow Charlie managed to snap off these excellent shots by digiscoping the bird as it ran around the bird, never an easy task.
After reporting the bird to the USGS Charlie received a prompt and faster than usual reply about its origins. This Sanderling was banded at Slaughter Beach in Delaware back on May 24, 2011. At the time the bird was already at least two years old. Slaughter Beach is close to the mouth of Delaware Bay and appears to be near the Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge.
The most engrossing part to me is that the bird has altered its movements in the last two years. It is here in Connecticut now in March when during spring migration in 2011 it was only in Delaware in May. This individual either decided to spend the winter here with us and not travel as far south, saving some energy going both directions, or has moved up its schedule and arrived as a migrant. That would mean it started the journey north much earlier than before, perhaps trying to be one of the first to arrive back on the nesting grounds either way. Our thanks to Charlie as always for all of his efforts! Please let us know if you ever find any exciting birds like this one.
Audubon Alliance for Coastal Waterbirds, Audubon Connecticut and the
Connecticut Audubon Society partnering to improve conditions for coastal
waterbirds in Connecticut.