Morningside Park Shorebird Fallout – 11 species! American Pipit too!

The White-rumped Sandpiper crouched down on the mud when a Killdeer on another island gave an alarm call.

The White-rumped Sandpiper crouched down on the mud when a Killdeer on another island gave an alarm call.


The American Pipit posed for a moment on a stump.

The American Pipit posed for a moment on a stump.


I hadn’t been to Morningside Park in a couple of days. I knew I had to go to the Hawk Watch today, but I got up early because I just had to check out if anything was happening at Morningside. When I arrived, I noticed that the water level was up a few inches since the heavy rain over the weekend. I also noticed that in spite of that, the islands are nearly all the way up now. As I kayaked out, I initially found nothing on the first several islands. I then heard some shorebirds calling and looked up to see a small flock of them landing on one of the far islands. The most notable aspect was the fact that there were several sizes of birds in the group. I quickly headed over and found quite a few birds there. The first notable was a juvenile WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER (our second of the season). The next group were four beautiful juvenile PECTORAL SANDPIPERS! Among the more common birds, these all stood out. There were 8 species in all at the time. As I sifted through the shorebirds, I heard a familiar call. Moments later an AMERICAN PIPIT flew in and landed nearby. Once I had seen everything that I thought was there, I headed to the Hawk Watch. What a disappointment. Ron Milliken and I had only three birds in over three hours. I decided to cut my losses and head back to Morningside. I had notified Scott Baldinger and Arlene Borko about the birds, and they were able to come over to see them. As I searched through them I found three more species, including our first county LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER and what ultimately proved to be our first county WESTERN SANDPIPER! Its interesting to note that we don’t get White-rumped every year, but this year we had two separate occurrences of it. Here is the complete list of shorebirds present today:

Semipalmated Plover – 1
Killdeer – 2
Spotted Sandpiper – 2
Lesser Yellowlegs – 1
Semipalmated Sandpiper – 2
WESTERN SANDPIPER – 1 FIRST COUNTY RECORD
Least Sandpiper – 4
WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER – 1
PECTORAL SANDPIPER – 4
LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER – 1 FIRST COUNTY RECORD
Wilson’s Snipe – 1

A fantastic group of shorebirds!

One of the four juvenile Pectoral Sandpipers stops feeding a moment to check me out.

One of the four juvenile Pectoral Sandpipers stops feeding a moment to check me out.


Our first county LONG-BILLED Dowitcher.

Our first county LONG-BILLED Dowitcher.

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4 Responses to Morningside Park Shorebird Fallout – 11 species! American Pipit too!

  1. John Gluth says:

    Hi John. Nice shot. But I’m pretty sure this bird is a Long-billed Dow. Tertials have no inner markings and narrow pale fringes (transitioning S-b — adult or juv. — would still have rusty barring and broader fringes). Also the black bands on the tail are noticeably thicker than the white bands. Not sure which species would be more notable up in Sullivan. http://www.kevintkarlson.com/#!dowitchers/cdvc

  2. Wow, that’s quite a day John! Thanks for the great post; super job with the photos.

  3. Thanks Matt! As you now know, it got even more exciting!

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