Jamaica Bay and Cupsogue County Park

A Dunlin that was still in breeding plumage.

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.

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.

WESTERN SANDPIPER – note the rufous in the scapulars and the arrows on the white underparts.

Western Sandpiper

Western Sandpiper

The Western Willet (middle) with two Eastern Willets.

The Western Willet (middle) with two Eastern Willets.

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2 Responses to Jamaica Bay and Cupsogue County Park

  1. Love the post John, such good birds, and I really love that Western Willet! That’s a good looking bird to me! Matt

  2. Thanks Matt, you’ll have to join us on one of our upcoming trips down. I go down a lot in shorebird season. In my humble opinion, the willets should be two separate species, not just subspecies. They are so different.

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