Thursday, August 25, 2016

Jamaica Bay Shorebird Trip 2016

On Saturday, I went to Jamaica Bay with the New York State Young Birders Club. We started out on the north side of the East Pond, which was not as muddy as it usually is. Immediately, we found 3 Stilt Sandpipers at close range. We also saw common summer residents such as Glossy Ibis and a large flock of Great and Snowy Egrets (more of the later). There was also a young Little Blue Heron in the egret flock. We then saw a mass of shorebirds fly from the southeast end of the pond to a sandy area almost opposite to us. We went to a nearby sandy spit which was directly opposite to the flock (as well as having some close birds on it). The flock was mostly made out of Semipalmated Sandpipers and Plovers, and Short-Billed Dowitchers, with some yellowlegs (both species) Least Sandpipers, a few Willet mixed in. Good birds within the flock were Ruddy Turnstone and Red Knot. There were some more birds further south, but the only ones I could identify were a large flock of Black-Bellied Plovers. After looking at shorebirds for a while, we decided to make our way out to Big John's Pond to try and see what could be there. But before we could make it to the exit, we found a Yellow-Billed Cuckoo, a rare nester in the refuge. Anyway, we arrived at the pond and found several Semipalmated and Least Sandpipers as well as a Solitary Sandpiper. We then received word of a White-Rumped Sandpiper at the East Pond overlook a few minutes away. We went over there, and only some of us (including me) were able to find the bird, only told apart from the semis by being slightly larger. A great day with around a dozen species of shorebird seen and over 50 species seen in total!

Monday, August 22, 2016

First Migrant Wave of Fall

On Thursday, I went out into the park hoping for a little more migrants than had come the previous few weeks. However, it turned out that there were many more warblers than I thought there would be. I heard about a flock of several warbler species near Belvedere Castle (actually by the Weather Station. When I got to the Ramble that morning, I saw almost nothing (aside from an Ovenbird). When I got to the Weather Station, it took a bit of searching before I finally found the flock, which included multiple Blue-Winged, a Canada, and a Chestnut-Sided Warbler (FOS). I also found my FOS Common Yellowthroat there. Another spot that was active that morning (and afternoon) was Maintenance Meadow, which had a lot of the same warblers, including my FOS Northern Parula. I also had a few empidonax flycatchers there. I heard one call, sounding a bit like Least. When I was at Laupot Bridge, I found another one, and this time the call was recognizable. It was a Willow Flycatcher (Year Bird #148). In the afternoon, I found most of the same birds as before. Maintenance Meadow was still very active, as it had quite a few warblers and flycatchers, including a young Eastern Phoebe (my first in August). I was also able to find an early MAGNOLIA WARBLER there, which many people got looks at. A great day with 12 species of warblers in the park!

The 12 species were:
Northern and Louisiana Waterthrushes (1 of each)
Ovenbird (few)
American Redstart (many)
Black-and-White Warbler (many)
Yellow Warbler (1)
Chestnut-Sided Warbler (few)
Blue-Winged Warbler (several)
Northern Parula (few)
Common Yellowthroat (2)
Canada Warbler (few)

Friday, August 12, 2016

Finding an Early Mourning in the Early Morning

On Thursday morning, I went into the Ramble looking for warblers. It was really hot, and when I first searched it, I found nothing. I then went to Azalea Pond, one of the better spots in August. Just as I was about to leave, I saw a warbler fly past me chasing an insect and land in the shrubs bordering the pond. When I got a look at it, I was about to dismiss it as a Common Yellowthroat, but I noticed that it had a lot more yellow, and a broken eye ring. It then faintly sang and I realized this was a MOURNING WARBLER! They usually show up later in August, and they are really hard to find because they usually don't sing. According to eBird, this is the earliest record of one in fall. Anyway, birds started to show up while I was watching the Mourning Warbler, which were a Black-and-White Warbler, a Northern Waterthrush, and a few American Redstarts. Other than that nice pocket of diversity, I didn't see much other than more redstarts and some Baltimore Orioles. A good early August day, despite the humidity.

26 species seen/heard, including..

MOURNING WARBLER (Immature male at Azalea Pond)
Black-and-White Warbler (Azalea Pond)
American Redstart (Several)
Northern Waterthrush (Azalea Pond)
Eastern Kingbird (Heard at Gill and Turtle Pond, not seen)
Warbling Vireo (Heard)
White-Breasted Nuthatch (Heard)
Baltimore Oriole (4)
American Crow (Flyover of 13)
Red-Tailed Hawk (Near Boathouse)
Great Egret (Turtle Pond)