Saturday, October 4, 2014

October 4 - Inwood Hill Park - White-rumped Sandpiper

Ann and I decided to take an afternoon walk around the park after the rains stopped and the sun finally came out. We didn't go up on to the ridge and didn't do any serious birding. We did see an Eastern Phoebe around the soccer fields and a couple of Swamp Sparrows. On the way back to the exit at 218th St. and Indian Road I spotted a small group of shorebirds on the rocks west of the Columbia Boathouse. I figured they were the Semipalmated Sandpipers that have been here regularly for the last month or so, but from a long distance i could see one looked a bit larger. I thought it was probably the Pectoral Sandpiper of the last two weeks, but since I hadn't seen that bird in a few days I decided to get a closer look to confirm. Ann and I went down into the new Muscota Marsh area and from the upper end of the boat launch i got see that the larger bird on the end was a Semipalmated Plover. Then I noticed something odd. The sleeping bird next to the plover was about the same size and clearly larger than all the others. The bird was asleep, facing away and somewhat obscured by the Semiplamated Sandpipers in front of it, so I started moving around to get a different angle on it. While I did, it woke up and showed its much longer bill. As I got a better look at it I realized it was a White-rumped Sandpiper! I had been considering this species as a possibility this fall when there were good numbers of Semi. Sands. at Muscota, but with the numbers declining sharply I no longer seriously considered it a possibility. Some pictures below.

Semipalmated Plover (back middle), White-rumped Sandpiper (middle) and Semi. Sands. © Joseph DiCostanzo

White-rumped (center) - note darker breast - and Semi. Sandpipers .                         © Joseph DiCostanzo

White-rumped (right) - note longer bill - and Semi. Sandpipers .                                    © Joseph DiCostanzo

White-rumped (in back) - note long wings projecting beyond tail - and Semi. Sandpipers .   © Joseph DiCostanzo

After getting pictures of the bird I headed up to my apartment to post the sighting on-line (5:01 pm). I also made some phone calls and sent some text messages to alert others. I also wanted to see the bird from my apartment window to add it to my personal apartment list. It became species 112 for my apartment list! It may also be a first record for New York County. Certainly, Cornell's eBirds site does not yet list the species for the county.

Within 15 minutes of my putting the post out on ebirdsnyc, Nate O'Reilly was on scene looking at the birds. A few minutes after I got back down to the shore from by apartment Nadir Souirgi arrived by bike to see the bird. For a while after that we explained what we were looking at to various passers-by and gave people looks at the birds through our binoculars and Nadir's scope. A few more local birders who had seen my post also arrived to see the bird. I went back to my apartment a few minutes after six and posted the sighting again, this time to the inwoodbirders list. Ann and I went back out again after 6:15, but at that point we only found six remaining Semi. Sands. and no sign of the Semi. Plover or the White-rump. I hope the birds are back in the morning for anyone else who may try for them. I will be out again Sunday morning.

1 comment:

  1. Great captures, and great explanation of the field marks!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.