Karen Miller joined me for a time this morning at Morningside Park. The shorebird numbers remained relatively unchanged since yesterday. The Pectoral Sandpiper continues, quite confiding when you are kayaking, but easily seen from shore if you view from the fence near the pavilion. Great Blue Herons were initially the only waders seen this morning, but I returned a bit later to check one last time and the Great Egret had returned. I had no Green Herons here today, but had two at a nearby small pond. For some reason, once again there was nothing at Apollo other than the Osprey.
This adult female Pectoral Sandpiper is a bird we don’t often get to see in the county. The vast majority of our Pecs are hatch year juveniles, arriving in late August and onward.
This morning I stopped at Apollo Plaza on my way to Morningside Park. I met Wilma Amthor there. There were only 8 Killdeer present this morning with no other shorebirds noted. The Osprey were present, and Wilma informed me that the one of the young had just fledged. It had made a very short maiden flight, landing almost immediately back on the nest. It then took two more flights, ending up on top or the mall itself, where it was sitting when I arrived. The second chick was exercising its wings and was clearly ready to fledge as well. On to Morningside Park. I kayaked the lake for about an hour. I was finally impressed that some noticeable change had occurred, just overnight. Apparently the warmer temperatures are helping. A spot I kayaked yesterday between two small permanent islands had risen up overnight, creating and isthmus between the two. It is about six feet wide and thirty feet long, and was covered in birds. In that immediate area I had 6 Killdeer, 6 Least Sandpipers, a Spotted Sandpiper and our FOS PECTORAL SANDPIPER! The Pec was an adult female in very worn plumage. I would have to say the bird looked thin. I don’t know if that can actually be the case, but that was how it appeared to me. It fed constantly while I was there and was very cooperative for photos. The Least Sandpipers, now in probably their third day, have become quite accustomed to me. Their confidence was clear to the Pec, who also was quite confiding as a result of the Least’s behavior. Other birds of note were the ongoing Great Egret, a few Great Blue Herons, a Green Heron and a Belted Kingfisher. A nice assortment of birds this morning. Wilma and Arlene Borko joined me to see the birds from shore.
Here is a shot of the Pec with a Least Sandpiper. Similar in appearance, the size difference is significant.
Kate Hyden has asked me to post that the above event will be taking place at the Catskill Art Society in Livingston Manor on Saturday August 8th. The Art exhibit will run 8/8 through 8/23/15. There will be a talk and reception on the 8th at 2PM. Please come join them for a nice afternoon.
Since Hilldale Pond is only a few miles from Morningside Park, I suspect that the Great Egret at Morningside today may be the same bird from Hilldale a few days ago.
The islands and mud flats at Morningside are making a very slow appearance. They are currently at only about 7% of where they should be. That said, a few birds continue to show up. I think that the small area of habitat is the reason they seem to move on each day. Other than the Killdeer and Spotted Sandpipers, I believe the other species have been new birds each time I go. Here is the list of birds of note this morning.
Spotted Sandpiper 3
Least Sandpiper 13
Great Egret 1
Great Blue Heron 2
Green Heron 1
Belted Kingfisher 1
Adult Common Gallinule by the bridge on Haven Road.
Not much happening anywhere today, but the Common Gallinules continue along Haven Road right by the bridge. A few years ago, the congregating young gallinules all remained by the bridge for nearly two months. There were a total of 16 of them. Though it might be to early to say that’s what’s going to happen, between five and seven have been there the past week. Today, there were seven. They are really quite confiding, I walked all around watching them without a problem. After about ten minutes, a family drove up, jumped out of the car making a real racket. The gallinules all retreated into the weeds at that point.
A Great Egret sits high in a tree at Hilldale Pond where it was chased by a Great Blue Heron. When it finally went down to the pond again, the GB chased it until it flew off entirely.
I spent a little time in a number of locations again today. I started at the Apollo. 2 Green Herons, 14 Killdeer and 2 Solitary Sandpipers, and a Kingfisher were all that was there (Osprey too). From there I kayaked Morningside Park. The plovers from yesterday were gone. A Greater Yellowlegs (flew out while I was there), 2 Least Sandpipers, 3 Spotted Sandpipers and 1 Semipalmated Sandpiper were present. Also a Kingfisher was here as well. From here I checked the Neversink, not a bird. On to Hilldale Pond. A Great Egret and a Great Blue Heron were there among quite a few Wood Ducks. The Great Blue chased the Egret continually until it finally flew off. Down to the Bashakill. A brief visit yielded the ongoing Gallinule family near the bridge, a Bald Eagle and a Fish Crow. Things are changing daily all over the county and its always worth a check of the hot spots.
The Common Gallinule family hangs out near the bridge quite regularly, if you’re lucky you might get to see them. The chicks are nearly full grown, but not yet flighted. The wings are currently covered in pin feathers.
One of two Semipalmated Plovers at Morningside Park today.
Out again this morning to check for shorebirds. We had some rain in the early morning hours and I was hoping it would help put something down. I was surprised upon my arrival at Apollo to find only the ongoing Green Heron and a single Least Sandpiper. I would return later to check it out again. Remember, the birds at Apollo filter in and out between there and the settling ponds at the landfill. On to Morningside Park. I kayaked out to the first set of mud flats which have increased in size, but only slightly. There were birds there. 2 Killdeer, 3 Spotted Sandpipers and our first of the fall SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, 2 of them. Many other typical species for this spot continue, but I spent most of my time with the shorebirds. The plovers were very cooperative for photos and I took far to many. From there, I went on to check out the reservoirs. Lance Verderame had called to tell me he had found a phalarope on the Pepackton Reservoir. The distance prevented him from getting it down to a species, but he wanted to alert me that phalarope was a possibility. There were two Osprey and a Common Merganser at the Neversink, nothing else. At the Rondout, many common species were present, but nothing noteworthy. Two Double-crested Cormorants being the best birds. I then returned to Apollo, where I found a few more birds had come in. 6 Least Sandpipers and 4 Killdeer were now present. With the ongoing thunderstorms today, maybe some more good birds will put down.