Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Jamaica Bay, August 28th

Despite a really strong showing with Ruffs early in the season, Jamaica Bay has seemed to be pretty anemic when it comes to more regular shorebird species.  Recent deluges (e.g. weekend of Sept 9th) have probably filled up the pond enough to eliminate any more shorebirding until next summer.

I made three visits in late August culminating in the best visit on Aug 28th.  On Aug 26th the best bird was a single White-rumped Sandpiper amongst Semipalmated Sandpipers.  On Aug 27th the south end was fairly slow (Least Sandpiper, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Semipalmated Plover) but at least I picked out the American White Pelican all the way at the north end (it's huge and that yellow bill sticks out even through the heat haze over the full length of the pond).

Finally on the afternoon of Aug 28th I had a little more luck - some cooperative common species at the entrance to the north end (Semipalmated Sandpiper, Semipalmated Plover) and then an accumulation of shorebirds at the end of the first spit - north of what is called Dead Man's Cove which despite its boot-sucking nature has not killed any birders as far as I'm aware.  It's covered a few in mud, however.

South of where I was standing the American Avocet was seen in the distance and then an American Golden-Plover flew in.  After it settled down I made an approach on it, a whole flock of Black-bellied Plovers flew in - they hardly ever are tame enough to accumulate on the spit in front of you, but this time they came in after a (very experienced pro) bird photographer managed to flush them all off the adjacent spit.  In with this flock came two Red Knots - an adult and a juvenile - which periodically would wander down the shore line towards us (it was us by this time - two more photographers including the pro had joined me).  So I spent a "pleasant" afternoon lying in the mud getting chewed on by biting flies taking pictures of plovers, knots, the occasional sandpiper and a few Common Terns.  The Avocet and the American Golden (my first adult on the East Pond) were by far the most interesting, but for once this year there was a good number of shorebirds lined up in front of me.

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