This morning I headed out early to central New Jersey to try for the European Golden Plover found there yesterday. I missed the bird by half an hour. (eeeeeeesh!) Upon my return home this evening, I got an email from Karen Miller informing me she had gone to Apollo Plaza this morning to try for shore birds. She sent me a photo of a bird she wasn’t sure of. When I pulled up the shot, I was thrilled to see a near breeding plumage STILT SANDPIPER!! I called and informed her of her great find and immediately headed up to Apollo hoping beyond hope that the bird remained. As I pulled up to the main pond, I immediately saw the bird. I made all the appropriate calls to my birding friends to alert them to its presence. I then got many shots of this very cooperative bird. Throughout the course of the evening, Arlene Borko, Scott Baldinger and Lance Verderame were all able to come see the bird. A surprise visit from Carena Pooth and Herb Thompson on their way home from the Young Birders Meeting netted them a neat find. This is only the 5th record of this species for Sullivan County! What a hobby! You never know what is going to happen next. Congratulations to Karen Miller on a great life bird and the first rarity she has found on her own!
PS: in keeping with this years trend, this bird is a full five weeks earlier than our previous early record.