Nature Niche: Finding the Elusive Redknot

Nature Niche pic-11-3-11

Special to the Parade

We do a lot of birding on the Laguna Madre. We bird almost every day. We know birds individually and we see new ones all the time.

This time of year we get to see and meet so many species that just use this area as a stopover. They may stay a few hours, a few days or even a few weeks before they move on south. One species in particular we watch for is the little shorebird called a Redknot. It is plain in the winter, a not so redknot, but one we see very few of. While we can see high numbers of other species, like this one, the most I have seen at one time is a dozen.

Of all the species we see, we have seen only a handful of banded or tagged species. Ones that have been captured and banded are highly sought after as it helps researchers monitor the status of the species.

We have seen many piping plover banded, which is the species we have seen the most of banded. We have seen a few brown pelicans banded, one osprey, one rose throated bicard, which is another story in itself; a few peregrines, a few reddish egrets but never a redknot banded.

As we were armchair birding the other day along the shore, ooing and ahhing over piping plovers and the variety of shorebirds just feet in front of us, I saw a light green tag on a bird just larger than the sanderling it was feeding next to. A redknot. Finally, a banded redknot.

So I took many photos and got some good ones to read what the tag said. I searched the flat for more redknots but only found pectoral sandpipers, ruddy turnstones, least and western sandpipers, a few more unbanded piping plovers but no more redknots… just this loner.

The wind was kicking up and we headed to the house. After uploading my photos and searching Google for tagged redknots, I found the site to report this bird and map it to. It was neat to see the history on this precious gem, a species that might be lost to us soon if we do not save the horseshoe crabs.

It is the nature niche of the Redknot. Here is the info that came back on little redknot, labeled 7PP:


10/7/2009 7:10:00 p.m. – Mustang Island, County Beach North, Texas, United States – 1332-15741 FL7PP REKN


1/4/2010 – Mustang Island, Port Aransas Jetty and Beach, Texas, United States – 1332-15741 FL7PP REKN

5/17/2011 – Padre Island National Seashore – 20 mile to 40 mile, Texas, United States – 1332-15741 FL7PP REKN

10/27/2011 – Brownsville shipping channel, Texas, United States-

1332-15741 FL7PP REKN

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