Miles and Miles of Sand

One of the many sandbars present in the Mississippi River this summer. This bar is located in Kentucky Bend and is a true giant measuring over two miles long. Bars like this are used by the Endangered least tern for nesting. The green area on the left is all of this bar that was above water in 2011. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 G.

 

 

This summer has been a good one for least terns in Kentucky.  After four consecutive years of flooding in the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, this summer has been marked by extremely low river levels.  This island pictured above is almost 30 feet above the rivers surface after being underwater most of last summer.  One of the negatives associated with low river levels is that islands connect with the mainland.  This means islands can be accessed by ATV traffic and predators such as coyotes.  We work hard to post these islands so that people know the birds are present and don’t disturb them.  Sometimes people do anyway.

 

This is a panoramic shot on one of the large bars showing the signs we use to alert people to the birds presence. You can click on the image to enlarge in another window. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 VRII. Panorama created in Photoshop.

 

You just never know what you will find washed up on these bars. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 G.

 

These sand bars can be a popular spot to ride ATVs so that is why we post nesting sites. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 VRII.

 

Unfortunately not everyone is happy when we post these sites and the occasional person will destroy signs. The vast majority of people do adhere to the signs and just have their fun outside of the nesting areas. Nikon D4 with AFS Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 G.

 

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