The more I learned about birds the more fascinated I was with them. I knew I wanted to do research for the rest of my life. I did my Master’s research out here [on Little St Simons Island] on Piping Plovers. Then I went and pursued my PhD.
I take the approach of having optimism. That’s the reason why I’m in the field that I’m in. I’m a professor at a university and I’m focused on Conservation Ecology. It’s easy to be depressed at times when you see the behavior by humans. I think that we need people to maintain that passion, and if it’s birding that drives that and gets people to truly see the beauty of ecosystems, and how important birds are, and the habitat that supports the birds. I have the optimism that over time we will see more and more how important ecosystems are to our own health.

That’s what I’m spending my whole life on, hoping that when I leave my child behind it will still be as beautiful a place as it is today, tomorrow.

I met Brandon and his wife several days ago on a shorebird survey on Little Saint Simons island along the Georgia coast. He and his wife came up from Florida and helped us gather valuable data about shorebird numbers on the island during the winter. We spent several hours together on the north end of the island on Sancho Panza beach, counting thousands of shorebirds. As I am still learning the finer points of I.D. I appreciated Brandon's extensive field experience and calm demeanor. (even when a Merlin flushed the Dunlin he was counting) He shared with me helpful tidbits of I.D. such as the color of Semipalmated plover looks like wet sand, compared to the dry sand hue of the Piping Plover. Together we counted 1,105 Semipalmated plovers, 3,197 Dunlin and various numbers of nearly a dozen total shorebird species. It was definitely a great day in the field with a true biologist. After the survey was complete we had a great interview together, with him and his wife (who will be featured with Brandon in a separate upcoming post) Thank you both!

Shorebirds by the thousands! Digiscoped with Swarovski ATX scope, iPhone + Phone Skope adapter

Shorebirds by the thousands! Digiscoped with Swarovski ATX scope, iPhone + Phone Skope adapter

A banded Piping Plover runs across the sand on our shorebird count.  Photo digiscoped through Swarovski spotting scope with iPhone6 and Phone Skope adapter

A banded Piping Plover runs across the sand on our shorebird count. 

Photo digiscoped through Swarovski spotting scope with iPhone6 and Phone Skope adapter