[Tweeters] sanderlings and tire tracks

David Barber dbarber71 at comcast.net
Wed Mar 25 18:02:18 PDT 2009

I'm wondering how the sanderling tire tracks were different. You said
they were always the same ones, from which I infer you could tell the
difference. Were they deeper in the sand? Was it a deeper or shallower
tread than the others? Anything?

David Barber
Vancouver, WA

jbroadus at seanet.com wrote:

> Interesting behaviour viewed while four of us were walking

> along the beach, in stormy weather, on the peninsula north of

> the town of Long Beach. Low tide, not many birds about but

> there were a few flocks of sanderlings. I have read about the

> following described behaviour, but this is the first time I have

> actually seen it:


> Driving is allowed on this stretch of beach, so although we saw

> no cars there were tracks from about 5 different cars. One set

> of knobby, but not particularly deep, tracks were interesting to

> the birds. We would see, in the distance, long skinny masses

> of sanderlings. As we came up to them you could see that the

> masses were each one tire width wide. Solid sanderlings

> covering each tire track, for a distance of 20 to 30 feet linearly

> along each track. The birds were probing, of course, and the

> track on the other side was always a little better than the track

> that some were in, as there was a constant running back and

> forth and trading places.


> The best thing is that there were several sets of tracks, and it

> was always only the two tracks from one vehicle that interested

> the birds. We saw this going on at two different places on the

> beach, both times the same two tracks. At other places along

> the beach there were very few birds, and only a scattering of

> probe holes. By the way, the tracks were not particularly close

> to the water's edge, but back up where the sand just started to

> get soft.


> When we got too close the flocks would run out to the surf line,

> and would probe a little out there, then run back to the tracks

> as we passed.


> We walked the same beach two more evenings, and never

> saw a repeat of the tire track feeding frenzy. Just your

> standard more or less random distribution of probing marks.


> Wonder what they could see that one day that we couldn't?

> Jerry Broadus

> PLS 17660



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