This morning I was disappointed to hear from Lance Verderame that our torrential rains overnight had brought no new birds to the Apollo Plaza. Ever optimistic, I headed out to Morningside Park in hopes that something new might have come in there. As I launched my kayak, I initially heard no shorebirds. Heading across the lake, I first heard a SPOTTED SANDPIPER, and then a GREATER YELLOWLEGS took off from the closest island, calling as it flew around the lake. I continued further until I heard some LEAST SANDPIPERS calling. I looked through my bins to the large muddy island and saw some chasing each other around. As I watched, a white head came up behind some sticks. It quickly ducked back down and I thought “what the heck was that?” I now picked up the pace, wanting to see what was there. As I neared the island, a SEMIPALMATED PLOVER came into view. I was sure it hadn’t been that I had seen. As I moved further, I noticed a larger, pale shorebird between some sticks. Just as I got close, it came out into full view, it was a SANDERLING!!! This is only the fourth Sanderling we’ve ever had in the county, the other three I had found during our “Swinging Bridge” period (’05/’06). The bird was an adult, transitioning to basic plumage. I moved around and the bird came quite close to my kayak. All the birds were quite confiding this morning and it gave me time to get many shots of the bird. I texted and called all my available friends to alert them to the birds presence. I remained with the bird for an hour and fifteen minutes when Arlene Borko arrived. As I was signaling her as to where the bird was, it gave a loud squeak call and took off. It flew around a couple of times and off to the other side of the lake. Unfortunately, Arlene had missed it completely. I spent some time looking for the bird when Scott and Paula arrived. I was never able to find it again. Apparently it had continued flying and out of the area. It was very disappointing that they had missed it. At least I was able to get the shots. What a great morning of shorebirding! Can’t wait for the next storm.
Semipalmated Plover 1
Greater Yellowlegs 1
Spotted Sandpiper 2
Least Sandpiper 10
(unfortunately, the White-rumped Sandpiper was gone today)
(this being the fourth record, it elevates Sanderling to our regular checklist)