Friday, January 21, 2022

Red Knot

On Thanksgiving Day in 2021, at Padre Island National Seashore, near Corpus Christi, I photographed one bird, and only one photo of that one bird, that was unremarkable at the time but turned out to be a first for me, and so far the only red knot I've seen. I'd never even heard of a red knot before. The red knot has one of the longest migration routes of any bird. There are six subspecies, all of which breed in the tundra of the arctic or subarctic. The subspecies I saw, rufa, breeds in the Canadian arctic of Nunavit, then migrates to Tierra Del Fuego at the tip of South America, about 9,000 miles. They migrate in stages. One stage takes them to southern Brazil. Then they apparently travel to southern Texas, where I saw one. Then they travel to Delaware Bay. Some fly directly from Tierra Del Fuego to Delaware Bay in four days and nights of non-stop flying. There are days in Delaware Bay when 90% of the subspecies rufa is present all on the same day.The Houston Audubon Society refers to them as "uncommon" there in fall through spring and "occasional" in summer. 
Red knot migration route from Wikipedia. 

The description is pretty bland: Small head and eyes, short neck, medium thin dark bill slightly tapering that is no longer than the head and short dark legs. Winter plumage is pale gray, for both sexes. Breeding plumage is mottled gray on top with a cinnamon face, throat and breast and light colored rear belly.

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