Apollo Plaza continues to be the best spot for shorebirds in the county today. A Greater Yellowlegs, 6 Killdeer, 3 Spotted Sandpipers and 9 Least Sandpipers have been present over the last two days. A quick kayaking of Morningside Park yielded only 4 Least Sandpipers. Things should pick up with the next northwest winds.
One of this years now well grown Spotted Sandpiper Chicks
Addendum: Karen Miller informed me she went somewhat later in the day and also had a SOLITARY SANDPIPER!
An adult and two chicks off the bridge on Haven Road.
This afternoon I stopped by Haven Road while waiting to pick up our dinner. There has been little happening here lately with the high temps and humidity. Today however, it was rather active. Three Great Blue Herons were foraging along the channel just off Haven Road. As I watched them, two Wood Ducks began swimming around. The family of Eastern Kingbirds were actively flycatching over the channel as well. As I watched all the goings on, a family of Common Gallinules swam out into the channel. An adult and two chicks were foraging in the Lily Pads. As I watched, the adult caught what appeared to be a small fish. It was wiggling and the adult took off with it, a chick chasing after it. When they came back into the channel to join the other chick, two adults entered with a total of three chicks. The Lily Pads were between them, so I couldn’t get a shot of all five. It was nice to see these chicks, my first this year.
As well as the Killdeer and the Least Sandpipers, we had our FOS GREATER YELLOWLEGS present this morning. Hopefully there are more good shorebirds to come.
First of the fall season for the county, a Greater Yellowlegs at Apollo Plaza
On this rather late date, I finally found two LEAST SANDPIPERS at the Apollo Plaza. These are the first fall shorebirds that I have seen here, and I have heard of no other reports. Hopefully this will be the start of a good shorebird season. Also with the Least’s were five Killdeer.
One of our first fall Least Sandpipers at the Apollo Plaza today.
A Dunlin that was still in breeding plumage.
Lance Verderame and I spent the day on Long Island, birding the above locations. We had a good day and got some new year birds for each of us. At Jamaica Bay, we had 10 species of shorebirds. The highlight of which was a near breeding plumage STILT SANDPIPER! Other highlights here included Short-billed Dowitchers, Gull-billed Tern and Peregrine Falcon. The Peregrine made a couple of sweeps over the east pond, causing most of the shorebirds to flush and end up on the west side of the pond. This made views a bit distant and made photos impossible. Another highlight was getting to see a female GADWALL with seven ducklings. We don’t get to see that often and it was a real treat. From there, we headed east to Cupsogue County Park. We were hoping for some terns that have been being reported both before and since my last trip (Tuesday). There were many more shorebirds here than just a few days ago. We were also told that a Royal Tern had been there shortly before we arrived and we hoped it would return. It took a couple of hours of searching through and abundance of peeps before I finally found a WESTERN SANDPIPER! This was a different bird than I had seen on Tuesday, retaining considerable rufous in its scapulars and extensive arrows on it underparts. I am always glad to find another Western Sandpiper. Though we remained for three hours, the Royal Tern never returned. The Terns we did see only included Common, Forster’s and Least. Eagle-eye Lance spotted a WESTERN WILLET among a large flock of willet that were present. This is a good find and though I see them regularly in Florida, I have no experience comparing them. The larger size, longer legs, longer thinner bill and grayer overall color were all good field marks Lance was able to point out to me. Another great day of birding on Long Island.
A handsome WESTERN WILLET picked out by Lance. Note the long legs, long thin bill and overall greyer appearance.
WESTERN SANDPIPER – note the rufous in the scapulars and the arrows on the white underparts.
The Western Willet (middle) with two Eastern Willets.
As I had some more time to go through my hundreds of photos from Tuesdays trip to Cupsogue, I found a couple of more photos of the Western Sandpiper that I thought were a little better, so I’m posting them now.
Western Sandpiper at Cupsogue County Park
While at Cupsogue County Park on Long Island yesterday, I spotted a Semipalmated Sandpiper with a band. The band was green with code H4Y on it. I submitted it today and found that the bird was banded in Heislerville WMA New Jersey on May 17th 2011. Here is a photo of the bird.
Banded/Flagged Semipalmated Sandpiper