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First Day of Work on the Eastern Shore!

Alex Lamoreaux|

I was surprised to spot this well-worn Red Knot while scoping through a flock of Short-billed Dowitchers - a species I hadn't seen at this location when I worked here in 2010. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Yesterday afternoon I drove down to Kiptopeke, Virginia from State College to start my summer job with the Center for Conservation Biology. I have previously worked for the CCB capturing and tagging Whimbrel during the spring migration of 2010, and now this year I am back to work with the Whimbrels again! I will also be working with a wide assortment of other species including Peregrine Falcons, Black-bellied Plovers, and seabirds. Today I planned to head out and re-familiarize myself with the study site, Box Tree Marsh, during mid-falling to mid-rising tide which wasn’t until the afternoon. During the morning hours, I slowly wandered my way around the Eastern Shore of Virginia NWR, where I am living for the summer (eBird checklist). The birding was fun but there were no migrant landbirds anywhere, although gulls and shorebirds were moving overhead in decent numbers. Quite a few southern species that aren’t nearly as numerous back up in State College were also fun to see, including Yellow-breasted Chat, White-eyed Vireo, Blue Grosbeak, Northern Bobwhite, and loads of Prairie Warblers.

The shorebirding around the channels of Box Tree Marsh during the afternoon was incredible (eBird checklist)! Short-billed Dowitchers and Dunlin were the most numerous but Whimbrel, Black-bellied Plovers, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Semipalmated Plovers, both subspecies of Willet, and Greater Yellowlegs were all present in good numbers. There were also smaller numbers of Spotted Sandpiper and Ruddy Turnstone. Perhaps the most exciting bird of the afternoon was a Red Knot, mixed with sleeping dowitchers.

I am eagerly awaiting more and more migrant landbirds and shorebirds to move through the Eastern Shore throughout the next few weeks and am equally as excited to get out into the marshes, working with Whimbrel other birds of Virginia’s coast. Check back for updates and photos over the course of the summer! In the meantime, below are a few photos I took today.

Whimbrel, like this short-billed male, use the Eastern Shore of Virginia as a stopover location during their migration from South American to the Arctic. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Whimbrel, like this short-billed male, use the Eastern Shore of Virginia as a stopover location during their migration between South America and the Arctic. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Both subspieces of the Willet can be found in Box Tree Marsh this time of the year, although "Eastern" Willets much more common. This subspecies winters in Central and South American and breeds along the east coast of the US. They are smaller and darker than "Western" Willets and have a shorter, straighter bill. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Both subspeices of the Willet can be found in Box Tree Marsh this time of the year, although “Eastern” Willets are much more common. This subspecies winters in Central and South America and breeds along the east coast of the US. They are smaller and darker than “Western” Willets and have a shorter, straighter bill. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

I was surprised to spot this well-worn Red Knot while scoping through a flock of Short-billed Dowitchers - a species I hadn't seen at this location when I worked here in 2010. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

I was surprised to spot this well-worn Red Knot while scoping through a flock of Short-billed Dowitchers – a species I hadn’t seen at this location when I worked here in 2010. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

About the Author

Alex Lamoreaux

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Alex Lamoreaux has been an avid birder and naturalist since he was a youngster, growing up exploring the farmland and forested ridges near Hershey, Pennsylvania. He attended Hershey High School and Penn State University. Alex has worked on wildlife research projects, ranging from Whimbrel along the coast of Virginia to Yellow-billed Cuckoos in the desert southwest. Alex loves to share his knowledge of nature, as well as help to bring the birding community together to share the enjoyment that spending time in nature has to offer. Alex has helped to organize and coordinate birding events in his home state of Pennsylvania and beyond. He has traveled extensively throughout North America, Central America, and South Africa and is currently pursuing nature tour guiding, as well as continuing to refine his passion for wildlife photography.Contact Info for Alex Lamoreaux: aslamoreaux@gmail.com (717) 943-7086

  • kate

    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge, both verbally and through pictures, giving us a taste of your wealth of knowledge of birds.