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Saturday, August 06, 2005

Shorebirds at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

Swamp Rose Mallow (Hibiscus palustris)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Shane and I went to Jamaica Bay early this morning optimistic that last night's front carried with it some shorebird flocks. Tom Burke pulled into the parking lot moments after us and we birded with him for the next 4 hours.

The West Pond seemed a little disappointing as there wasn't much new bird activity. The highlight there was watching a noisy adult and juvenile Gull-billed Tern circling the area.

Hudsonian Godwit (Limosa haemastica)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Juvenile Gull-billed Tern (Sterna nilotica)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

-Click to learn more about Hudsonian Godwits-

-Click to learn more about Gull-billed Terns-

Across the street, at the south flats of the East Pond, we weren't immediately impressed with the shorebird activity. It seemed pretty slow. John Fritz was with a group at the north end and called Tom to tell him about a Hudsonian Godwit in the area. By the time we reached the Raunt (what is a "Raunt" anyway) the godwit had cooperatively moved to the pilings close to us.

Spooked by a Peregrine Falcon

(Photo credit - Rob J)

When a Peregrine Falcon circled the north end virtual clouds of panicked shorebirds lifted off and scattered in different directions. At that point it became clear that a fairly high number of birds had moved in on last night's weather front.

A bit later John Fritz called with a tip on a Wilson's Phalarope on the opposite side of the pond from us. It obligingly waited for us to trudge to the other side, affording us very good looks.

-Click to learn more about Wilson's Phalarope-

Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Shane and I left Tom still scanning the birds on the East Pond as we made our way south along the west side of the pond. The water level is unusually low but I still wouldn't recommend walking all the way back to the gets a bit mucky.

Other noteworthy shorebirds on the East Pond were Solitary Sandpiper, Red Knot, Western Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper and Pectoral Sandpiper.

Thanks Tom for your expertise and John Fritz for the heads up on two very good birds.


(Photo credit - Rob J)

Shrubby Cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa)

Thanks, Ron, for the identification
(Photo credit - Rob J)

- - - - -

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, 8/6/2005
Pied-billed Grebe (2, East Pond.)
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Glossy Ibis
Wood Duck
American Wigeon
Green-winged Teal
Peregrine Falcon (Flying over East Pond.)
Black-bellied Plover
Semipalmated Plover
American Oystercatcher
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Solitary Sandpiper (1, west corner of South Flats.)
Spotted Sandpiper
Hudsonian Godwit (1, Raunt.)
Ruddy Turnstone
Red Knot (North end of East Pond.)
Semipalmated Sandpiper (Abundant.)
Western Sandpiper (3 or 4, North end of East Pond.)
Least Sandpiper (Abundant.)
White-rumped Sandpiper (Several, East Pond.)
Pectoral Sandpiper
Stilt Sandpiper
Short-billed Dowitcher (Abundant.)
Wilson's Phalarope (1, North end of East Pond.)
Laughing Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Gull-billed Tern (1 adult, 1 juvenile.)
Common Tern
Forster's Tern
Least Tern
Black Skimmer
empidonax sp. (West Pond, likely Willow.)
Fish Crow
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
Cedar Waxwing
Yellow Warbler
Northern Waterthrush (2 or 3, around East Pond.)
Common Yellowthroat
Eastern Towhee
Red-winged Blackbird
Boat-tailed Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
American Goldfinch

Other common species seen (or heard):
Canada Goose, American Black Duck, Mallard, Herring Gull, Rock Pigeon, American Crow, European Starling, Northern Cardinal, Song Sparrow, House Sparrow


arah said...

Rob, you take gorgeous photos; thank you for sharing them. Can I ask what type of camera and lens you use for them?

Rob J. said...

Thank you, I truly enjoying sharing. You'll probably be surprised that I'm not using a high-end digital camera. It's just a small Canon Powershot S50 (5 megapixels). For really distant subjects I either digiscope through a spotting scope or, sometimes, my Leica binoculars. The S50 has been replaced by the S70 (7 megapixels).

arah said...

No, I'm not surprised that it's not a higher-end camera. Good shots are made by talented photographers, regardless of the camera.

It is good to learn that you (probably) used the Powershot for those sharp close-up flower shots. I have an older 2-mp Powershot S110 that can't quite do the closeups too sharply. Time to upgrade! (and/or to fix my 35mm for which I have some good lenses).

Exploring urban nature, birds, birdwatching, birding, hummingbirds, butterflies, dragonflies, bees, hawks, raptors, wildflowers, trees, mushrooms, environment, binoculars, spotting scope