Sunday, August 17, 2008

Jamaica Bay, August 16th

I made an early morning trek across the Verrazano Bridge to Jamaica Bay WR in search of shorebirds and some decent photographic opportunities. If anything the water in the East Pond was even higher than on my previous visit, but there was some exposed mud at the south end which is where I started. Shorebird numbers were fairly low, and diversity even lower, with the most novel shorebirds being a single Short-billed Dowitcher and two Spotted Sandpipers. Semipalmated Sandpipers, Semipalmated Plovers, Least Sandpipers and a few Lesser Yellowlegs dominated the activity. I have a lot of photos of those so I gave up early and went to the north end.

Here the water was even higher than on my previous trip - the Sharp-tailed Sandiper one - and the water was up to the edge of the phragmites in most cases. Really quite remarkable conditions for mid-August, when they normally have the pond drawn down. However I was able to pull out a distant Red-necked Phalarope (always a good bird here), a few White-rumped Sandpipers, and two fly-by juvenile Gull-billed Terns. The situation was so odd that I was standing in about 6 inches of water looking at shorebirds and taking photos of White-rumped Sandpipers while looking back toward the phragmites. Thankfully nobody attempted to go past the cove, sparing some exposed mud for roosting and feeding shorebirds. You'd probably sink up to your neck in that section anyway.

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