Sunday, July 16, 2006

Early morning at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

Dawn on the East Pond

(Photo credit - Rob J)

I love being outside when the sun is rising. Getting there is another story. When my alarm goes off I'm never thrilled and always have to force myself to sit upright. Eventually the fog lifts from my brain. I remember the unmatched sensation of dark solitude transitioning to soft light and screeching, cawing, cackling sounds of nature preparing for a day of work. Some people think that I’m a little crazy to wake up at 4:00am just to slog through the mud at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Maybe I am or maybe they’re missing out on the best part of the day.

We went to the refuge to find a reported Wilson's Phalarope. Several species of shorebirds have begun migrating south and this is usually the time that phalaropes can appear locally. The dominant species of shorebird present this morning was dowitcher. Flocks of feeding dowitchers were interspersed with yellow-legs. The water along the east side of the East Pond was about 10" at it’s deepest point. This time I wore my mud boots as I assumed that I would be walking a long distance. In addition to a small section of exposed mud at the South Flats, there were a few points of land jutting into the north end of the pond. Sean’s sharp eyes quickly picked out the Wilson’s Phalarope on the opposite side of the pond. The bird’s bright, white plumes beamed in the early morning light among red-brown Dowitchers and streaked Yellow-legs. The Ruff was also still present a short distance south of the phalarope.

Juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron

(Photo credit - Rob J)

As the morning progressed dozens of Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets and other wading birds crossed paths above the East Pond. The Night-Herons were on their way to roost after a night of hunting while the egrets and herons were just beginning their day.

Common Tern

(Photo credit - Rob J)

-Click here for more info on Wilson's Phalarope-

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Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, 7/16/2006
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Pied-billed Grebe

Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Scarlet Ibis
Wood Duck
American Wigeon
Blue-winged Teal
Ruddy Duck
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Willet
Spotted Sandpiper
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Stilt Sandpiper
Ruff (Northwest side of East Pond.)
Short-billed Dowitcher
Wilson's Phalarope (Northwest side of East Pond.)
Laughing Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Common Tern
Forster's Tern
Least Tern
Black Skimmer
Belted Kingfisher
Willow Flycatcher
White-eyed Vireo
Fish Crow
Barn Swallow
Carolina Wren
Marsh Wren
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Common Grackle
American Goldfinch

Other common species seen (or heard):
Double-crested Cormorant, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, American Black Duck, Mallard, Herring Gull, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

rob,
I'm a fellow birder who just read about your other blog devoted to getting dogs out of the park. I'm thrilled about this effort. I can't find your email anywhere. Please email me. I have some ideas that would might help mobilize the widespread support BTW - I'm also a parent and my five year old was terrified one day when several dogs chased his ball down. thanks cbiers@aol.com

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