Saturday, August 30, 2014

Brigantine 8/30--Buff-breasted Sandpiper

It has seemed like all summer the water has been high in the Brig impoundments. There never seems to a low tide exposing mud flats for sandbars for shorebirds. Today's field trip with Scott Barnes and Linda Mack continued that trend. There were, however, many more Great Blue Herons around the refuge than we usually see, which prompted Bob Auster, who was riding with us in the caravan to comment that "there were a lot of great blues but no muddy waters."

Our first circuit around the dikes turned up a fair amount of shorebirds, nothing exciting save for a late Whimbrel on the south dike and, a bit more interesting, a Marbled Godwit on the north dike, past one of the few sandbars, occupied by close to 30 Caspian Terns and a good flock of Black-bellied Plovers.

On the second trip around, after lunch, the water was even higher. Scott was hoping the high tide would push the birds in closer. I've always thought that was a suspect theory, since the high tide also covers any potential high spots for the birds. However: the road itself is a high spot and it was on the road that we found a Buff-breasted Sandpiper, alerted by call from another birder whose car we used as a landmark as the buffie scurried around the the tires. While I was looking at the bird I got a call from Greg Prelich, who was leading the Friends of Forsythe van tour today, to tell me he'd seen the buffie again--earlier in the day we'd met him while he was scouting and he showed me a photo he'd taken of one. I was jealous then; I was happy now. The whole group had slowly walked up the road as the sandpiper, a juvenile that didn't have much experience with people, allowed us to approach as it ran back and forth on the road, occasionally disappearing into the grass. I ran back to the car, drove up a little ways and gave Shari her camera. A few of her shots:

A pretty neat bird making a stopover on its extremely long migration from its Arctic birthplace to it's wintering grounds in southern Argentina--7000 miles more or less. And no one knows how it knows where it is supposed to go.
 The group as a whole had many more birds than I listed. Once again, as so often happens at Brig (and I can't figure out why) I had another "Heinz" list: 57 varieties of birds:
Canada Goose  75
Mute Swan  17
Wood Duck  1
Mallard  15
Green-winged Teal  3
Double-crested Cormorant  100
Great Blue Heron  10
Great Egret  75
Snowy Egret  25
Tricolored Heron  1
Black-crowned Night-Heron  3
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron  2
Glossy Ibis  30
Black Vulture  3
Turkey Vulture  4
Osprey  20
Clapper Rail  3
Black-bellied Plover  25
Semipalmated Plover  20
Greater Yellowlegs  20
Lesser Yellowlegs
Whimbrel  1
Marbled Godwit  1
Least Sandpiper  1
Buff-breasted Sandpiper  1
Semipalmated Sandpiper  125
Short-billed Dowitcher  20
Laughing Gull  150
Herring Gull  100
Great Black-backed Gull  25
Least Tern  1
Gull-billed Tern  2
Caspian Tern  30     
Black Tern  2
Forster's Tern  50
Royal Tern  2
Black Skimmer  10
Mourning Dove  3
Belted Kingfisher  1     Exit Pond
Peregrine Falcon  1
Eastern Kingbird  3
Blue Jay  1     Heard
American Crow  1
Fish Crow  2
Tree Swallow  5
Carolina Chickadee  1     Heard picnic tables
House Wren  1     Heard picnic tables
Marsh Wren  1     Heard, south dike
Carolina Wren  1     Heard
Northern Mockingbird  1
European Starling  75
Cedar Waxwing  1
Northern Cardinal  1     Near martin houses
Red-winged Blackbird  150
Boat-tailed Grackle  3
House Finch  4
American Goldfinch  5

No comments:

Post a Comment