Mercer’s Musings: A Study of Red Knots

This article, written by Robert Mercer, originally appeared on page 11 in the June 2020 edition of The Seabrooker.

Early in season, Red Knots are gray. There is a banded bird in this picture hiding its flag.

As I leave South Carolina behind, so are the Red Knots (Calidris canutus rufa).

Early in the year, when the Red Knots started to show up on Seabrook Island beaches, my friend, Mark Andrews, talked me into helping him get counts of the birds. After several attempts, Mark realized that our numbers could not be very accurate as birds could be anywhere nearby. In an effort to remedy this shortfall, Mark made arrangements for a team of people to create a snapshot survey of the total number of Red Knots on the Kiawah Island and Seabrook Island Beaches. In mid-March we counted about 2,000 Red Knots.  On our second effort, at the end of March, the number rose to about 3,200.

How many birds do you count? Flock of mostly Red Knots. Estimated size of whole flock, 4,000.
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