During the Indiana Audubon Big May Day Bird Count there is historically a lack of shorebirds in Johnson County. That is not surprising since the county is basically an urban area with some farmland. Not much habitat for shorebirds.
But I know a few spots that might have water and can usually turn up a few shorebirds. Last year on the count I found Greater Yellowlegs and Solitary Sandpipers down by Edinburgh.
But this year there was a lack of rain leading up to the count. Mike and I had found some shorebirds in April but those spots were in farm fields and had dried up by the day of the count.
So when the group met at lunch it was no surprise that the only shorebirds found in the morning were Killdeer and Spotted Sandpiper. And only a couple of each. I had struck out on the two main productive sites since they were dry. So I decided to work my way home stopping by about ten spots that I knew could hold shorebirds. If they were holding water.
Of the ten spots four were dry. Six of the spots had small amounts of water and all had shorebirds, either Spotted Sandpiper or Killdeer. So I was still no further ahead except for a good count on the Spotties.
The last place I stopped was a spot I had discovered a few weeks previously. It was by a new building site and eventually it would be a retaining pond but for now it held a small amount of water. And in this case no Spotted Sandpipers but Killdeer and four Least Sandpipers.
At first I thought they were Pectoral Sandpipers. But they were much smaller next to the Killdeer.
So I am glad I found them since I had run out of places to search. But it makes one ask, how much habitat has been lost for migrating shorebirds?