Thursday, August 20, 2015
Dance of the Sandpipers, Part 2
My last post was getting long, so I will continue here with more photos. If you have not read the previous post, scroll down and read it first..
The village of Dorchester in the southeastern corner of New Brunswick is home to the world's largest sandpiper, a model of the semipalmated sandpiper which was the reason for our visit. I was so happy to be accompanied by my sweet great-niece Mallory on this little adventure. We had hoped to have lunch at the historic Bell Inn, the oldest stone building in the province, dating from the early 1800's. Sadly they had a group reservation for lunch so were closed to others. So we found another spot for a quick lunch, then headed to Johnson's Mills a few miles further on.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada owns 499 acres there, promoting conservation, education and stewardship onsite. The Shorebird Reserve and Interpretive Centre is open daily in July and August and the interpretive staff are friendly and helpful, answering all questions easily. Displays inside the Centre were very interesting, providing lots of information on the sandpipers and other shorebirds as well. Viewing platforms provide ample views of the beach area. "The area was given international prominence when it was added to the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance and was designated as Canada's first Western Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve. In 2007, the New Brunswick side of the Upper Bay of Fundy was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Shepody Bay, where Johnson's Mills is located, is also designated as an Important Bird Area." ~ quoted from a display in the Interpretation Centre.
Birdwatching requires a good amount of patience. We enjoyed the hot sunny day and even moreso the cooling breeze off the water as we watched and waited... and waited... for high tide which would bring the birds closer. We eventually left the viewing platform and walked further down to the point where another interpreter was keeping a close eye on everyone and making sure no one went down onto the beach where the sandpipers were roosting. I was so glad I remembered two pairs of binoculars!
After several hours, the resident pair of peregrine falcons did a "fly by" and this alerted the sandpipers, finally treating us to the dance we had hoped to see. As I said in my previous post, the still photos do not do it justice, so if you didn't watch those videos, go back and do it now. It was amazing to watch, as they fly in unison, weave and turn, first light then dark, changing direction every few seconds yet remaining in tight formation like a precision drill team. We both felt very privileged to be there to witness one of nature's spectacles. Without any further chat, I'll let you enjoy it too.....
"The study of nature is a limitless field, the most fascinating adventure in the world."
~ Margaret Morse Nice