Friday, September 2, 2016

Tropical Storm Hermine At Bunche Beach: Pt. I

The weather has seemed downright weird to me this rainy season in southwest Florida which is not to imply that it has been any less than uncomfortably humid.


The Piping Plover above (image 1) was photographed at Bunche Beach Preserve in September 2016.

The rainy season has not been anywhere near as predictable as it is supposed to be in Florida. And for the first time in nearly 11 years a storm system approached Florida which became Tropical Storm Hermine after it entered the Gulf of Mexico.


The Semipalmated Plover above (image 2) was photographed at Bunche Beach Preserve in September 2016.


The Sanderling above (image 3) was photographed at Bunche Beach Preserve in September 2016.


"Erwin" the Piping Plover above (image 4) was photographed at Bunche Beach Preserve in September 2016.

Tropical Storm Hermine began to further intensify as it was no longer over land and drew strength from warm waters. On the morning of my sunrise visit to Bunche Beach Preserve on 1 September, the conditions were overcast and windy.


"Erwin" the Piping Plover with Semipalmated Plover above (image 5) was photographed at Bunche Beach Preserve in September 2016.


The Piping Plover with prey above (image 6) was photographed at Bunche Beach Preserve in September 2016.


The Piping Plover with prey above (image 7) was photographed at Bunche Beach Preserve in September 2016.

I coincidentally met up with wildlife photographer Gail Campbell in the parking lot at the preserve before heading to the beach. We spoke briefly to catch up on things while observing that the low tide appeared high as the water had been driven into the bay by the storm.


The Short-billed Dowitcher above (image 8) was photographed at Bunche Beach Preserve in September 2016.


The Western Sandpiper above (image 9) was photographed at Bunche Beach Preserve in September 2016.


The Short-billed Dowitcher above (image 10) was photographed at Bunche Beach Preserve in September 2016.

It began to rain before deciding whether to head toward the east or west channel, fortunately only briefly. Gail and I decided to go to the east as there were more shorebirds visible in that direction.


The Wilson's Plover above (image 11) was photographed at Bunche Beach Preserve in September 2016.


The Willet above (image 12) was photographed at Bunche Beach Preserve in September 2016.

It was also good to see "Erwin the Piping Plover" again who recently arrived from Nebraska's breeding grounds. This will be Erwin's sixth season overwintering at Bunche Beach Preserve. There was typical aggressive behavior observed between Piping Plover and Semipalmated Plover with the latter dominant.


The Piping Plover above (image 13) was photographed at Bunche Beach Preserve in September 2016.

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The Piping Plover above (image 14) was photographed at Bunche Beach Preserve in September 2016.

Please also see Tropical Storm Hermine At Bunche Beach: Part II

6 comments:

  1. Nice post. Stopped at Bunche this morning with an idea of spotting any pelagics pushed in by the storm. Only had frigatebirds. Did see Erwin thought

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    1. Thanks, Tom. Good idea. Too bad there were no pelagics on your visit, nor mine! Someone reported a frigatebird on the day of my visit, but I missed it. I bought one of Gail's ball caps that she had embroidered with the flamingo seen at Bunche earlier in the year. She did an excellent job designing it. I hope everyone is reporting their banded bird sightings to the appropriate organization for the species.

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  2. Great shots of theze plover and sanderling and the soft color of the willet is beautiful!
    The last image of the Piping Plover is awesome!
    (I did follow the news about Hermine on CNN. We do not have hurricanes here in the Netherlands.)
    Have a nice weekend,
    greetings,
    Maria

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    1. Thank you, Maria. The subdued light was not too negative a factor with most of the birds lacking their breeding plumage. A few Short-billed Dowitchers among the dozens of individuals seen offered some orange coloration. They stood out like a sore thumb. The birds were fortunate the area was spared the worst of the storm.

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  3. Great post Bob -- superbly highlights the shorebird bonanza that can be found at Bunche Beach!

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    1. Thank you, Hemant. It was an enjoyable visit especially considering the circumstances.

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