About 30 of us birders walked onto the dikes at Knox-Marsellus Marsh on 
Saturday morning seeking shorebirds. Habitat was a bit limited due to lots of 
vegetation, and numbers of visible birds were a bit on the low side, but there 
was good variety despite some flightiness, falcon harassment, and apparent 
turnover. 

Shorebirds included: 
Killdeer - common
Semipalmated Plover - several
Semipalmated Sandpiper - common
Least Sandpiper - common
White-rumpled Sandpiper - at least 1, possibly several
Baird's Sandpiper - at least 3 together
Stilt Sandpiper - at least 4 together
Pectoral Sandpiper - several
Short-billed Dowitcher - at least bright 3 juveniles
Long-billed Dowitcher - at least 1 juvenile (which I missed)
Wilson's Snipe - at least 4 together (which I missed)
Lesser Yellowlegs - common
Greater Yellowlegs - several 
Wilson's Phalarope  - 2 together
Most of these would have been very difficult to see from either East Road or 
Towpath Road. 

Other highlights included:
Trumpeter Swan - a pair flew in, calling, from Puddler to K-M
Sora - 2 adults
Virginia Rail - at least 2, possibly 3 adults
Sandhill Crane - a pair flew in, calling from the south to K-M
Various non-breeding plumage dabbling ducks which generally kept their distance 
but settled within sight
Great Egrets - a few
Caspian Terns - a resting flock
Peregrine Falcon - at least 1 quick flyby which scared off many shorebirds 
Merlin - which I missed
Northern Harrier - 1 hunting over adjacent marshy fields, possibly another 
soaring high overhead with a Red-tailed Hawk

Thanks to all the folks who helped share sightings, questions, & ID help. 
Thanks also to refuge staff for their efforts in the difficult task of creating 
shorebird habitat despite the conspiracies of weather & vegetation, and for 
allowing us onto the dikes for far better looks at the birds.
--Dave Nutter


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