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Friday, August 11, 2017

Kari's Snowy Plover

[SW Florida. April 2017]

At the confluence of the land and sea, from the pure white sands of Florida's beaches, an avian mirage crystallizes, bit by bit, into a small feathery ball sitting on bright, silvery legs. If, as it is said, that Helen was the face that launched a thousand ships, then surely, the Snowy Plover is the shorebird that caused a thousand clicks!

And, indeed, while this vision has been captured by numerous photographers, including this blogger, perhaps the full aesthetic justice that this spectacular plover deserves requires the eye of an artist -- and in this regard, we are delighted to present this unique shorebird in all its ethereal glory thanks to Kari Pagnano who eloquently describes the scene in her own art and words:


Nature offers an endless source of subject matter to paint and the beauty and individuality of birds are gifts that inspire me. 

Observing the stillness of a bird at rest leaves me peaceful and the exuberance of sudden flight fills me with delight. 

What I am most interested in communicating with my paintings is serenity and beauty in a quiet, straightforward manner.

I am so happy to have discovered the Digital Plume Hunter and his beautiful photography to expand my bird references and knowledge.

Kari Pagnano


Kari's art expresses the universal joy of discovery and enchantment that we all feel when communing with nature in silence. An inspiration this writer humbly hopes rings true for every reader of this blog. 

Indeed, the Snowy Plover was the highlight of 6 plover species enjoyed during a Spring visit to Southwest Florida at fabled venues such as Bunche Beach and Little Estero CWA:

  • Snowy Plover
  • Wilson's Plover
  • Piping Plover
  • Black-bellied Plover
  • Semipalmated Plover; and,
  • Killdear (aka Meadow Plover)
We start with the Snowy Plover that has been celebrated in art so masterfully by Kari:

In contrast to the dainty Snowy Plover, Wilson's Plover is larger, with a robust bill and dull, pink legs: 

A gorgeous male seen at Little Estero CWA where this breeding pair were also spied:

The female, above, shows a beige collar and paler markings compared to the male below:

Another view of the magnificent male:

Next, Piping Plover is another plover to enjoy on SW Florida's beaches -- a threatened species at risk because it breeds where people and their pets abound -- resulting in frequent nesting failure:

Piping Plover is also a pale plover with a dark (but unbroken) band; however, note the orange legs and bill.

Semipalmated Plover is a much more commoner species and shows orange legs and a brown back:

In breeding plumage (above), a black mask develops in addition to the band and "headband".

Compared to the above, the Black-bellied Plover is a giant:

This is our largest plover and this particular individual is still molting into alternate plumage.

And, lastly, Killdeer (or Meadow Plover) -- this is our only double banded plover and since it isn't coastal, it is best found in marshes (here seen at Harns Marsh):

Nature may be celebrated in so many different ways -- for some, a furtive view through binoculars; for others, through the magic of digital capture; and for the rare few, in sublime art with paint and canvas as Kari's paintings have so beautifully illustrated.

1 comment:

Bob Pelkey said...

And yet another fine presentation of SW Florida wildlife, Hemant. You found "Erwin the Piping Plover" as indicated by the bands and flag on her legs. The researchers didn't know whether the bird was a male or female when they banded her. I can hear the call of the Killdeer in my mind while it was typically heard before seen when in flight at Harns Marsh.