Monday, September 29, 2014

September 28 - Jones Beach and Jamaica Bay

Spent a fun day birding western Long Island with Ed Eden. We started out by heading out to the West End of Jones Beach where we spent most of the morning in the vicinity of the Coast Guard Station. We arrived about two hours before high tide which was due at 10:30 am. There were hundreds of American Oystercatchers on the island across from the parking lot, however, the only other shorebirds were three Black-bellied Plovers.

Part of the American Oystercatcher flock at Jones Beach, West End                                             © Joseph DiCostanzo

We decided to check the trees along the Coast Guard fence and to walk out to the fishermen's lot by the inlet, checking for landbirds, while the tide came in. There were only a few migrants around, including the first Yellow-rumped Warblers I have seen this fall. When we headed back to check the island, Andrew Baksh, Gail Benson, and Tom Burke were there looking at a lone American Golden-Plover with a small flock of Black-bellied Plovers. Unfortunately, we only had a few minutes to enjoy the bird before the flock flew off, but it meant we did have nice views of the Golden, both on the ground and in flight. Ed and I stayed to watch the island, hoping more shorebirds mike come in on the still rising tide. The shorebirds were joined by a group of twenty or so Sanderlings, but that was about all until numbers of Black Skimmers started coming in. In the end several hundred Black Skimmers were with the oystercatchers on the island and shrinking sandbar.

Very small part of Black Skimmer flock at Jones Beach, West End                                            © Joseph DiCostanzo
A lone Merlin came by, perching briefly in the trees out on the median. After brief checks of the West End 2 lot and the Roosevelt Nature Center we headed to Jamaica Bay.

At Jamaica Bay the East Pond was virtually devoid of shore birds - a handful of Short-billed Dowitchers, Semipalmated Sandpipers and a lone Pectoral Sandpiper. Waterfowl numbers however, are building with both Green-winged and Blue-winged teals present, a couple of Ruddy Ducks, maybe a dozen Northern Pintails (all either females or males in eclipse plumage), a few American Wigeons and best of all a drake Eurasian Wigeon.

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