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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Interesting visitor in Prospect Park

I was in Prospect Park at about 6:30am. Some of the expected songbird migrants were seen, but not in very high numbers. With the cold front moving in tonight, I expect tomorrow will be more productive.

When I was leaving the park there were two park workings coming out from behind the fence that surrounds the lower pool. I've seen them in the park several times and we've spoken about birds in the past. Knowing that I was interested in birds, one said to me, "Did you see that shorebird at the Upper Pool?" I presumed that it was just a common Spotted Sandpiper when the other worker said, "It was swimming around." A shorebird swimming? The only shorebirds that swim (at least that I know about) are phalaropes, so I ran to the Upper Pool. We couldn't find it immediately, but the tiny bird eventually emerged from the floating mat of primrose that edges most of the pond. I initially misidentified the bird as a Wilson's Phalarope and I'll use the excuse that I was facing the sun and the bird was in silhouette. Peter Dorosh and I ran around to the opposite side of the pond and we decided that it was, without doubt, a Red-necked Phalarope. In addition, he had buffy feathers on his back, which would make it a juvenile. That's probably why he stopped off at Prospect Park and not Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. He didn't know the best places to dine in the neighborhood, yet. He stayed around for about an hour then took off, flying east.

Mary Eyster and I walked around the entire lake trying to relocate the bird. We were unsuccessful. It is interesting to note, however, that along the way we observed a Solitary Sandpiper, a pair of Spotted Sandpipers and a flock of six Semipalmated Sandpipers. That's four species of shorebird ... in Prospect Park. Who said you need to go to the shore to see shorebirds?

The photo quality isn't very good, but I was surprised that they look as good as they do considering I shot them through my binoculars.

1 comment:

Pamela said...

I had to link the pharlope - as I've never even heard of it before.
That was really cool!!!

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