Take your Beach Bum Geekiness to a whole new level today by celebrating the first-ever World Shorebird Day. While this new holiday seemed slightly suspicious at first, with many thinking it was another holiday plot cooked up by the evil marketing team at Hallmark (TM) to sell more cards, visiting the World Shorebird Day website puts our minds at ease and lets us know this is legit.
There is a myth blowing around the beach that Readings From The Northside was inspired by the desire to finally answer the question, once-and-for-all, “is that a ‘Sandpiper’ or a ‘Sanderling’ and how can I tell the difference?” Most of us just call creatures that vaguely resemble certain shapes and sizes whatever our moms, dads, or crazy uncles once told us they were. The truth is there is an amazingly diverse and interesting world to be discovered right on your own beach once you start looking and paying attention. With Shorebird migration in full swing, LBI has lots of seasonal Shorebird Tourists passing through.
If you’ve never tried it, today is a great day to start immersing yourself in the amazing world of the Wild Beach. Take a stroll during this afternoon’s low tide with its forecasted mucky South winds. Pay a little patient attention to the tideline, especially to the flat, moist sandbar areas and around jetties. You can be sure that 90% of the small wading shorebirds you see are Sanderlings, the “Rice of The Beach“. Using the Sanderling as your base-template Shorebird, look among them for adorbz little things that are slightly different. The cool birds like to hide out amidst the Sanderlings.
When you spot something unique, take a thoughtful look. Train yourself to look at legs (length & color), beaks (length, shape, and color), rough size (compare it to a Sanderling) and lastly color or tone. Interestingly, color is the trickiest to nail down but it is what most folks remember. When they get back to their Field Guides or their Google, they realize the legs & beaks would have been more helpful.
If you don’t own one already, get yourself a Peterson Flash Guide of Atlantic Coast Birds. Almost every bird you’ll see on LBI is contained within. No beach bag should be without one of these easy-to-carry and handily waterproofed little foldouts. You can find them at various spots around the Island, including the Surf City 5 & 10.
Happy World Shorebird Day. Hope you find something special, something new, and something memorable.