Karl Overman: Birds and more


In the modern era of birding with excellent cameras virtually de rigueur for hardcore birders, we are trending back a hundred years or so when if you didn’t  get a specimen with your trusty shotgun then it really didn’t count as an acceptable record.  Many early birding books only accepted specimen records.  Now of course it is getting a photo that is expected of any unusual sighting and rightly so under most circumstances.  So I have been banging away, collecting specimens so to speak with my camera in earnest since 2007 when I got my first digital camera.  One intriguing side effect of all these photos is that when I get home and actually take a hard look at them, I am surprised how often (with nonpasserines) I notice that the bird I photographed was banded even though in the field that did not register with me.  Such was the case with the Semipalmated Sandpiper from Lake Oddessa, Michigan.  You can see the band on both legs of the bird.  I did not keep the photos that clearly show the banding codes though I did forward them on Allen Chartier who is a keen bird bander.  He in turn sent them to the Cape May Bird Observatory which informed me that this bird was banded August 10, 2018 at Johnson’s Mill, New Brunswick.  So in the two and a half years since being banded this bird has had three trips to its tropical wintering grounds and two  and a half trips to its arctic breeding grounds.  That is thousands  of frequent flier miles for  this petite bird.  I think it has earned an upgrade by now.

Semipalmated Sandpiper (Calidris pusilla)

modified March 7, 2922