Where: Murrells Inlet, SC • Huntington Beach State Park
Notes: It would seem logical that opportunities to photograph wild life happen by simply taking my camera for a walk in the woods once and a while. This is true to a some degree, but more often a prospect arrives through communication. In this case the observation of another bird photographer had heard from someone else that there were Red Knots seen very recently at the park. It so happened that a walk up the sand was on the agenda for the morning. Almost a mile north along the oceanfront we encountered a group of Willets that had some medium sized shorebirds mixed within the flock. Sure enough, they were Red Knots our largest "peep" sandpiper. My favorite boots, newly refurbished, were ready for their maiden step into the chilly December Atlantic surf. This was to get the kind morning light to my back. When I was out about fifteen to twenty feet, just above my knees deep, the birds felt safe enough to continue their feeding along the water's edge and passed right in front of me as they probed the sand for their breakfast. It makes me think about how many times lately that I a have been guided through communication to a place, to a bird to a chance encounter this God's beautiful creatures. Years ago there was the phone based "Rare-Bird -Alert" consisting of a chain style phone call list. Now we have internet based list-serves and Email notification.
It had been many years since I had seen a Red Knot. Their numbers are dropping drastically, perhaps due to the reduction in food availability. The population overall has dropped almost eighty per cent in the past ten years and this trend continues. It is believed that the heavy harvesting of horseshoe crabs, especially in the Delaware Bay, may significantly contribute to their population decline.
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