As the title of this post would seem to suggest, I love bird watching, taking their pictures and sharing my pictures with you, but I am horrible with identifications and it was no different when I saw what I believed to be my first sandpiper while I was taking pictures at Cooper Marsh and then again from the board walk Oka National Park. So I would ask you the reader to forgive my short comings in this area and simply allow me to share my pictures, my story and what I do know with you and if you can in your comments help me to identify the birds I have shot and correct for me any identifying mistakes I have made. I am always willing and am hoping that we can all learn a little something more and new from each other.
As it is with most of my first experiences in nature, that something new always seems to happen as a pleasant surprise, in other words while I am looking for another creature, or just really out for a nice walk and not really looking for anything. I was a Cooper Marsh to try to get pictures of geese, because I wanted to do a post on geese all about them from their arrival in marshes and wetland areas to their departure and so it was sitting in one of the blinds that I accidentally took a picture of what I thought to be a sandpiper. Cooper Marsh was in a man-made draw down situation and this left the perfect environment for the sandpiper to hunt, nest and do all of the things that a sandpiper does, but I was not in the marsh for this little guy, so after taking a few shots, I turned my attention back to the geese.
All the way back to Montreal I thought about the bird I thought was a sandpiper and very little about the geese and the post about them I was writing and so I began to realise until I discovered if the bird was indeed a sandpiper I would be know good to my geese story and so it was off to Google land and the world of Wikipedia to learn what I could, satisfy my curiosity and hopefully be able to finish my post on geese. I learned that when talking about sandpipers you are talking about:
- A lot of birds that belong to the family of sand pipers and they range in size from very small to medium size
- That their beaks are very sensitive and specialised
- That their bills are differ sizes and lengths to allow several types of sandpipers to feed in the same area and not eat all of the others food.
- That they are polygamists, with one male impregnating several females. I learned that they protect their young and nests, by distracting the predator, or intruder.
- This was going to be a very long study and that I would have to get back to it if I was every going to get the geese post written and published.
It was at this point that I forgot about the sandpiper, well not forgot but put the bird to the back of my mind and finished my post about the geese and several other posts, before one day not too long ago I was walking on the boardwalk in Oka National Park and I saw from the corner of my eye a movement in the tall reeds and what looked like a bird. the water was very low this day and the bird looked like it was walking on water. I guess the water being low made it easier for birds like the sandpiper I was looking at and taking pictures of to access the small vertebrates it finds in the mud and sand.
What I also discovered that day on the boardwalk in Oka National Park was how difficult it is to see this bird when it stands still against the reeds and tall grasses of a marsh. Its camouflage is perfect and had it not been for the movement of the sandpiper and the reflection it cast upon the water I would never have been able to distinguish it from its background of reeds and tall grasses.
I am always interested in what a bird or another animal sees as a fit nest, or home, a place to rear their young and so I was a little shocked to learn most species of sandpiper just nest in open areas scratches out a shallow nest. They tend to defend their territories with aerial displays and are precocial, (born with their eyes open, able to find own food with a little help from parents, but still may need parents to brood them for a bit to hep regulate their temperature). Examples of other precocial birds are the domestic chicken, most species of ducks and geese and waders, which as well as learning to swim faster and run faster than other birds are also covered in feathers soon after hatching. If you are wondering why I used the word precocial in my post it is so I can remember it and what it means and once both you and I know the words for certain things it becomes easier for us to discuss animal behaviour in fewer words. I always thought that all birds came into the world in the same shape as far as being ready to be on their own was concerned, but now I know this to be false, because birds such as heron, hawks, woodpeckers and owls are born helpless and need their parents to nourish them for a long time after hatching and this is called being altricial.
I am no expert on animal behaviour and my sharing with you helps me to learn about these things more easily. Sharing these things with you that I learn through Wikipedia and through a Google search makes for an interesting, fun way to increase my knowledge about all of God‘s creatures. It also gives me a great excuse to venture out into the marshes, wetlands, national parks, bird sanctuaries and eco parks, more than I normally would, if I were not looking for material to share with you.
Update: I went to dearkitty1.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/spoon-billed-…and was treated to this video of the spoon-billed Sandpiper, it was great and I really enjoyed it. Go check it out.
- The Sandpiper – by Robert Peterson (ensures.wordpress.com)
- The Woodpecker \ One Of Nature’s All Natural Insect Exterminators (docdavis15.wordpress.com)
- A Fall Day In Oka National Park Through My Cameras Lens (docdavis15.wordpress.com)