In a little over 1.5 hours on April 19, I identified 19 marked
individuals among a large flock of Red Knots on east Kiawah Island,
South Carolina. Two days prior to that I had 2 additional/different Red
Knots with color bands and 'flags'. I was able to photograph
(digiscope) the majority of the birds.
There were three types of flags - lime green with numbers, yellow with
numbers and dark green without numbers. My understanding is that the
lime green flags were applied to migrating Knots in Delaware Bay, USA,
the yellow flags were applied to wintering Knots in the Dutch Antilles
and the dark green band is a "cohort" banding scheme (I'm not sure where
they were applied).
Photos of several of Saturday's banded + flagged Red Knots have been
added to this web page:
I am sure there are yet more unidentified 'flagged' Knots at east Kiawah
Island - I found all 19 birds last Friday in a group of 800+ Knots.
Just up the beach were another 2400+ Red Knots, but I was kept quite
busy for the remainder of the afternoon light working the smaller flock.
On April 17, I found 3 'flagged' Red Knots (out of ~2200 total) at the
same site - UWS (yellow flag), PM3 (lime green flag) and CV? (lime green).
Kiawah Island is a well-known and important staging spot for Red Knots
during spring migration. Kiawah also hosts a wintering population of
Red Knots consisting of a few hundred birds. During late April, Kiawah
has traditionally hosted several thousand individuals.
Chris Snook reports that just to the north, Folly Island, SC is
currently hosting roughly 1,000 Red Knots. And last week CRBO observer
Burton Moore III found 850+ Red Knots on nearby Sullivans Island, SC.
Complete 'flag' info for the April 19 Kiawah birds is below:
- PM3 (lime green) - same bird was present on 4/17
- MU4 (lime green)
- TUL (yellow)
- CP5 (lime green)
- VCV (lime green)
- JM7 (lime green, flag on left leg)
- UMP (yellow)
- XX8 (lime green)
- PX3 (lime green)
- PN4 (lime green)
- VHH (lime green)
- XL4 (lime green)
- LAP (lime green)
- TNV (lime green)
- MV7 (lime green)
- XV4 (lime green)
- UXH (yellow)
- XX4 (lime green)
- Plus 1 individual with a dark green, un-numbered 'flag' on left leg,
above joint + blue band left leg, below joint + green over red bands
right leg, below joint + metal band right eg, above joint.
In closing, I wish to urge all birders in relevant areas to go out and
seek color-marked Red Knots for the remainder of spring migration. Each
and every reported band/flag combination is valuable to Red Knot
researchers struggling to save this charming species. So channel your
hobby into something positive and lasting - it is much more rewarding
than birding for one's entertainment alone.
Cape Romain Bird Observatory