Saturday, April 26, 2014

Heislerville WMA 4/26--Clapper Rail, Lesser Yellowlegs, Short-billed Dowitcher

Heislerville Rookery
Then we switched habitats entirely, going from the forest to the impoundments at Heislerville on Delaware Bay about 15 miles away. This was only our 3rd trip to Heislerville; we have Brig for all
Our caravan at Heislerville
our wader & shorebird needs. Like Brig, you can drive on the impoundments. Unlike Brig, on large stretches of the road, if you park, you block traffic. Fortunately, the place is not as heavily traveled as Brig.

The most instructive sighting there today, was getting Lesser Yellowlegs standing right next to Greater Yellowlegs. It is hard to tell them apart, especially at a distance, when they are alone--asking yourself if the bill would go through the head as on a greater, or if if the barring is lighter on a lesser, when looking at them shimmering in your scope, can be frustrating. But standing next to each other, who's who is obvious. The same cannot be said of Short-billed Dowitchers compared to Long-billed.  They can stand in close proximity and you'd still have disagreements about which is which. Happily, it is too early for Long-billed, so the dowitchers we saw were an easy i.d.

Afterwards, we made a stop at Jake's Landing where I didn't pick up anything new, though some in the group, including Shari, were lucky enough to see Seaside Sparrow displaying. Clapper Rails, our first of the year which we heard at Heislerville, were calling pretty loudly at Jake's and one even made a brief appearance.
30 species
Canada Goose  5
Mute Swan  4
Gadwall  2
American Black Duck  5
Mallard  4
Blue-winged Teal  4
Green-winged Teal  2
Red-breasted Merganser 4    
Double-crested Cormorant  100
Great Egret  75
Snowy Egret  50
Glossy Ibis  7
Turkey Vulture  1
Osprey  5
Bald Eagle  1
Clapper Rail  1    Heard
Greater Yellowlegs  75
Willet  5
Lesser Yellowlegs  5
Dunlin  50
Short-billed Dowitcher  5
Bonaparte's Gull  2
Laughing Gull  5
Ring-billed Gull  1
Herring Gull  25
Great Black-backed Gull  5
Forster's Tern  5
Tree Swallow  1
Red-winged Blackbird  2    Heard
Boat-tailed Grackle  1

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