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Bird Watching at Tigertail Beach
Friends of Tigertail learn about bird migration. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Bird Watching at Tigertail Beach

By Barbara Parisi

On Saturday, November 2, 2013, Friends of Tigertail Beach hosted their Fifth Breakfast & Birds event – Welcome Back our Northern Nesters. FOT welcomed attendees who brought their own breakfasts and binoculars. The event was lead by Susan Kubat and Fran Huxley. The morning commenced with a group of 27 people gathered at the beach pavilion. Susan explained the incredible journeys our migratory shorebirds undertake yearly as they travel from here in the spring to their summer nesting grounds in the north and their return trip here for the winter. Her presentation was punctuated by the use of a chart that underscored the remarkable distances that these birds cover.

The purpose of the Breakfast and Bird event is to help in the identification of the lagoon’s wading and shorebirds which have returned here for the winter. Fran focused on physical attributes of the birds for identification such as size, bill shape, feather and leg coloration. Susan concentrated on behavioral characteristics as an aid to identification. She referenced a bird’s pattern of movement and gait.

Following their respective presentations, Susan and Fran lead the group to the lagoon edge with the hope of identifying as many birds as possible. Both the weather and the birds proved to be cooperative. The day was cool and the birds plentiful! As long as the group maintained a respectful distance, the birds continued with their normal activity. The “birding” group was quite enthusiastic and participated in implementing their new skill sets. In doing so, they were able to identify least and western sandpipers, dunlins, ruddy turnstones, short-billed dowitchers, willets, black-bellied plovers, Wilson’s plovers, semipalmated and piping plovers. With the use of binoculars, the group also spotted a tri-color heron, small blue heron and egrets across the lagoon. It was a delightful day and a first time experience for many of the attendees.

If you are interested in participating in FOT’s next events, please mark your calendars: Sat, 12/7/13 Beach Clean-Up; Sat, 1/11/14 Breakfast & Birds – Identify our Winter Wading Birds & Shorebirds; Sat, 3/1/14 Discover Tigertail – Interactive family event.

The Friends of Tigertail is a non-profit organization of volunteers dedicated to the stewardship of the unique, rich natural area that comprises Tigertail Beach and Sand Dollar Spit, and to educating the public about these places. If you are interested in joining the organization, please contact Joseph Parisi, Membership Chair, at 781-864-2392. For more information, please visit the website: www.friendsoftigertail.com.

 


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