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Over 35 species tallied in Global Shorebird Count

By SCCF - | Sep 30, 2020

SCCF Least tern

Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation shorebird biologist Audrey Albrecht covered more than 18 miles of beach on the islands as part of the Global Shorebird Count, which ran from Sept. 3-9.

As part of the counts, she also boated to North Captiva to survey shorebirds on the bayside mudflat adjacent to SCCF’s Charlotte & Delbert Miller Preserve.

“I counted 4,755 individual birds of 35 species including shorebirds, seabirds, wading birds and birds of prey,” Albrecht said. “The five most numerous species observed were sandwich terns, sanderlings, royal terns, laughing gulls and willets.”

Numerous banded birds were encountered, including sanderlings, piping plovers, black skimmers, royal terns and a single least tern. The least tern was originally banded at the Space Center, a rooftop colony in north Pinellas County in 2017. In August, it was seen for the first time since banding at Fort Island Beach in Crystal River. SCCF’s recent encounter was only the second re-sighting of the bird.

In other updates, the SCCF reported that Sept. 16 marked Plover Appreciation Day.

SCCF Snowy plover

It celebrated the six species of plovers that spend time on the islands. Along with the snowy plover, there is the semipalmated plover, Wilson’s plover, black-bellied plover, killdeer and piping plover.

Plover Appreciation Day is a day of raising awareness of the plight of plovers around the world.

They are ground-nesting birds that live on beaches, lake shores, wetlands and grasslands. Many species are also highly threatened, largely because humans also enjoy their coastal habitats. Plovers and their nests are small and well camouflaged, so humans can have a major impact on the survival of their eggs and chicks without even realizing it.

For questions about shorebirds or to report sightings of a banded ones, contact Albrecht at shorebirds@sccf.org.