CBC, Pip, Squeak, and Sandy

Black-bellied plover (Pluvialis squatarola)

I kayaked by myself for the Matanzas Christmas Bird Count. I left from the Butler boat ramp where we pulled out the other day and promised to be careful. It was windy, so I kept to the oyster beds and stayed away from the open water. It only took an hour and a half to get to the accessible places. I saw some White Pelicans across some open water. I started toward them and wisely reconsidered. I took a photo instead and kept to calmer water. My most exciting find was a Whimbrel which I have only seen twice.

Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)

I did very well on the water, but not so well on land. As I was backing the Jeep out of the parking spot, I bumped the boat trailer parked next to me. We have had the Jeep since 2016 and traveled all over the country dragging it behind the motorhome and then taking off on all kinds of back country roads and it finally got its first ding. Fortunately, it was the rubber bumper and it is scraped but fine. The boat trailer looked fine. I took a picture and left my card anyway.

It was the first time I kayaked by myself and loaded the kayak by myself. Unloading is a breeze. One only has to lessen the effect of gravity on the kayak. To load it, I put the front end up on the carrier and then lifted it up from the middle to get the whole kayak loaded in the rack. It worked well. We have Thule hydraulic jacks, so getting the kayak on top of the car is not a problem. The biggest problem has always been getting the kayak situated on the carrier when it is waist high.

Yesterday, I got worried about Pip because he keeps sitting back on his legs. His legs seem weak. We weighed the chicks and Pip is 26 grams while Squeak is 38 grams. Pip wasn’t too hard to weigh. We put each one in a bowl on a scale. Squeak became a bouncing bean and kept jumping as high as it could to get out. He/she did not want to be in the bowl and it took a few seconds to get a weight.

Today, Regis tried using a bag with somewhat better success. Pip is now 27 grams and Squeak 39 grams. At least Pip is growing.

I went on the first whale survey of the season this year. Weekly between now and mid-March, I will be on a team looking for Northern Right Whales that come to calve in the waters off southeast Georgia and northeast Florida. They are rare and we do not see many. On the way home, I drove by the Ark and picked up a Sanderling. Boring, but I named it Sandy. Sandy is in the same penned area as Pip and Squeak. Karen, from the Ark, told me that Pip is exhibiting a calcium deficiency. She has vitamins on order and she told me to make sure the birds get plenty of sun.

When I got back, I put the birds in a plastic container in the sunshine and monitored them. Not only was I making sure no one escaped, but I was making sure a hawk did not have them for lunch. Once they calmed down after moving them, the two killdeers went to sleep in the sunshine. Very cute. I could not take a picture because my movement would wake them.

Following is a video of the three of them in their plastic bin before they fell asleep.

Brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)
Belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)
Ring-billed gull (Larus delawarensis)
Short-billed dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus)
White ibis (Eudocimus albus)
Willet (Tringa semipalmata)

3 Comments on “CBC, Pip, Squeak, and Sandy

  1. Lovely!! Wonderful photos! I believe my favorite is the pelican. The killdeers are close behind in cuteness. Years ago we had a family of them living in the parking lot next door at the church. When anyone got close to the chicks the parent would feign a broken wing to distract them away. They are very high on the cuteness scale. Thanks for all you do.


    • I enjoy working with the animals. Sometimes it is heartbreaking. Often enough, it is successful and rewarding. I think we humans make things tough on wildlife and it is a teeny, tiny contribution to try to rectify that by helping when possible.

      Liked by 1 person

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