Nature Note – Peak Shorebird Migration Time

A solitary sandpiper. Photo by Ian Clark via VT Fish & Wildlife.

Late August and early September are the peak times for shorebird migration. The diminutive birds are mid-way on their flight from breeding grounds in northern Canada to the Caribbean and points further south. Reliably good habitat can be found at Dead Creek in Addison, VT, the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge in Swanton, VT, and in open farm fields around Coopersville, NY. However, the low water levels of 2016 mean good habitat can be found all around the region and should attract a number of birds.

Once you find good territory the birds will be easy to spot, but difficult to identify. Most will be various types of plovers and sandpipers, but a single flock can contain many different species. The joy of shorebird watching is scanning through a flock of birds for the rarities. Bring a bird guide and a good pair of binoculars, or better yet, a spotting scope.