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Posts Tagged ‘Migratory Birds’

April showers are nourishing all the perennials we just planted, but if you are a migratory bird looking to nest in Florida, you’d be plain out of luck. Wading birds like egrets and herons depend on fresh, clean water from rivers meeting the sea in estuaries on our coasts for their food supply, and scientists have been putting on waders to count their nests this time of year. Considering Mr T’s deep cuts to the EPA, this Audubon report is troubling:

The latest South Florida Wading Bird Report, which was published last week, offers signs of trouble for the birds and the places they live. During this nesting season, which ran from December 2015 to July 2016, surveyors were disappointed to find 26,676 nests total. That’s just one-third the number of nests tallied during 2009, one of the best nesting years in decades, and the lowest nest census since the 2007-2008 season. Of the indicator species, only two (Great Egrets and White Ibises) met their nest recovery goals. The only bird to show an above-average nesting season last year was the Roseate Spoonbill. http://www.audubon.org/news/floridas-wading-birds-had-terrible-breeding-season-last-year

We had a Great Blue Heron swoop over our Rumson garage every morning to fish in the Shrewsbury River. When you live so close to the ocean, you begin to notice the rise and fall of tidewater by the line of black silt on your Corgis’ short legs, which would sometimes cover their bellies. “Swamp Dogs” was our affectionate term for Toots and Blaze. My sister Kay was kind enough to immortalize that mother/son duo in a 1993 watercolor.

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But it’s the long, stilt-like legs of Great Egrets that are helping them navigate the rising seawater levels due to Climate Change.

And now we have a circus/barker/climate/denier as the Leader of the Free World who would like to dismantle and disrupt the federal government, and return power to “the states.” I’ve always wondered why Republicans even pursue public service when they hate it so much! If any of you are still wondering about the loss of Arctic ice or if keeping that house your aunt left you on the Jersey Shore is a good idea, take a look at Leonardo diCaprio’s interactive global temperature map. It looks like there may be a quarter of Rumson left after the flood. Seriously.

“Every fraction of a degree of global warming sets in motion sea level rise that will profoundly threaten coastal cities across the world,” explains Dr. Benjamin Strauss from Climate Central. “[Our map] shows the incredible stakes and urgency of our climate choices.”

https://www.beforetheflood.com/explore/the-crisis/sea-level-rise/

Now that you’ve put in your city, and the visual has sunk in and maybe you’ve “woke up” think about these cuts to the federal budget. Keep calling your legislators people, dig out your Wellies (English for waders or rain boots), and start looking for higher ground while planning your retirement

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Last night, while making dinner, I heard Bob yelling from the living room, “You’ve got to see this, there’s a hawk…” and in the middle of my beans and rice he’s rushing into the kitchen to point out the commotion. Let it be said, I heard the commotion.  There is no TV in the kitchen so I can conjure up culinary delights quietly and without much fuss. One of the first questions the architect we unfortunately had to fire asked us was, “Do you want an open plan kitchen, or do you like this space separate?”  Since I actually cook in my kitchen, pots and pans everywhere, I thought it should be my haven of peaceful mess and creativity. “Private kitchen,” I said.

Turning off the burner, I spied a bunch of black birds buzzing around a tree, having a good old fashioned spring squak-fest. Following Bob’s finger’s line of sight I saw it. At this point my dear husband is proclaiming it to be an eagle. The American Bald Eagle is his favorite bird, really if he could be reincarnated he’d come back as an eagle and soar around on thermal winds. The hawk/eagle was just sitting very haughtily on a dead branch while these pesky black birds were telling him to move on. Bob quietly retreated to fetch his camera and here he is:    Osprey Web 20130508

When we were first married, we lived on the edge of a bird sanctuary in Pittsfield, MA. Wild Guinea Hens would visit our bird feeder and peck around on the ground to give us a show. Later, when we moved to the Jersey Shore, a Great Blue Heron would fly out over our garage most mornings for breakfast in the Shrewsbury tributary. When I discovered 2 old prints of these birds at an antique fair, the hens and the herons, I had them framed and hung in VA.photo copy 4 photo copy 5

Still not sure what bird should represent our Blue Ridge mountain home, I’ve been deciding between the Cardinal, the Blue Bird or the Woodpecker, all very abundant on our land. But truth be told, red-tailed Hawks are almost always flying in the valley.

After sending off the picture to a local birder, we were delighted to find out that this hawk/eagle was actuallyan Osprey!

The last time I saw an Osprey was in Martha’s Vineyard, nesting on top of a pole. But sure enough, this bird of prey likes to migrate through these parts in the spring and fall. Still we’re told, they are rarely seen in the Ivy Creek Natural Area which is a part of the  VA Birding and Wildlife Trail. http://ivycreekfoundation.org/ivycreek.html

Well we missed the annual meeting of the VA Society of Ornithologists, but I’m going to tell Bob to send his picture in to the eBird site http://ebird.org/content/va so they can document the Osprey’s fight path. Maybe he’s heading back to Menemsha pond, where the toddler Bride and I would dig for clams.

And a footnote: yesterday the Bride found a bird in her bathroom. It was a beautiful day so she had left her back door open; luckily she shooed it out the same door!

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