Sunday, April 26, 2015

Brig 4/26--Bar-tailed Godwit, Least Sandpiper, Chimney Swift

Shari, Bob, and I were back at Brig at 8:45 this morning for the 2nd half of our birding weekend. We started off at the Gull Pond with some Blue-winged Teal, a Bald Eagle and, mixed in with the swallows, our FOY Chimney Swift.

Bar-tailed Godwit
Photos by Shari Zirlin
Once we were on the dikes, we quickly relocated the American Avocets and the American White Pelican, in more or less the same area they were in the day before. After everyone in the group got on them both species flew off--the avocets to the left, the pelican somwhere to the right. We took a long time going around the drive, sorting through flocks of shorebirds and coming up with most of the expected species. The upland
portion of the drive was essentially a bird-free zone but by the time we were at the picnic tables for lunch I had over 60 species for the day.

The 2nd trip around the drive is for birds missed on the first circuit. What we missed the first time around was a doozy. We were just about to stop for the relocated pelican when all our phones started buzzing with an alert. Shari, who was riding with Mike & Pete, phoned me and told me we were now going to chase. We drove up the drive, past the observation tower to the East Pool where a small group of birders had gathered with their scopes and there we had what seems to be an annual visitor to Brig: Bar-tailed Godwit, a very rare visitor from Europe.

Last year, around this time, Brig also hosted this species. I remember chasing it very well and not finding it because it was so cold and windy that I abandoned my plan to just sit where it had been reported and wait for it (or another birder with sharper eyes) to show up. It was seen that day by Pete, who was about 20 minutes behind me on the drive. Had I stayed put, I would have seen it.

Today there was no problem and we got long and satisfying looks at this shorebird. Not a lifer for us (we'd seen in it France on our honeymoon) but it was Bob's 3rd lifer of the weekend. Getting 3 life birds in your home state on a weekend, unless you're an absolute newbie, is pretty amazing. By the time we were packing up many more birders, alerted by text, email, phone, or just stopping to see what all the hoopla was about had gathered to look at the godwit.

Hooded Mergansers, hens
After that spectacular sighting there really wasn't much that could top it. We drove around at a steady pace.  Mike did stop to show Bob & me our FOY Least Sandpiper which we had missed on the first go-round. We also had such "rarities" as 4 hen Hooded Mergansers and 5 Ring-necked Ducks. Given the date, these birds are expected to be gone. Given the weather, perhaps not.

Totaling it all up, I had 96 species for the weekend with 12 year birds. If only the Mets could have won more than one game against the Yankees, it would have been a perfect weekend.

64 species
Canada Goose  25
Mute Swan  1
American Black Duck  10
Mallard  5
Blue-winged Teal  10
Northern Shoveler  20
Northern Pintail  2
Green-winged Teal  10
Ring-necked Duck  5     entrance/exit ponds. White spurs on side, ringed bills. 
Hooded Merganser  4     continuing birds, all hens, from north dike, in channel.
Red-throated Loon  1
Double-crested Cormorant  25
American White Pelican  1    
Great Blue Heron  1
Great Egret  25
Snowy Egret  30
Glossy Ibis  50
Turkey Vulture  7
Osprey  5
Bald Eagle  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
American Avocet  6     Continuing birds, in SW Pool, rusty reds sides,  black blacks, up turned bills
American Oystercatcher  5


Black-bellied Plover  50
Greater Yellowlegs  100
Willet  10
Lesser Yellowlegs  5
Whimbrel  4
Bar-tailed Godwit  1    
Dunlin  300
Least Sandpiper  1
Semipalmated Sandpiper  3
Short-billed Dowitcher  30
Bonaparte's Gull  2
Ring-billed Gull  1
Herring Gull  50
Great Black-backed Gull  10
Caspian Tern  2
Forster's Tern  20
Chimney Swift  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1     Heard upland trail
Peregrine Falcon  2
American Crow  1
Fish Crow  7
Purple Martin  5
Tree Swallow  10
Barn Swallow  2
Carolina Chickadee  2     Heard, picnic tables
Carolina Wren  1     Heard, picnic tables
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  2     Heard, upland portion
Eastern Bluebird  1
American Robin  5
Common Yellowthroat  3     Heard
Pine Warbler  2     Heard
Eastern Towhee  2     Heard
Chipping Sparrow  3
Song Sparrow  1
White-throated Sparrow  1     Heard, picnic tables
Northern Cardinal  1     Picnic tables
Red-winged Blackbird  20
Common Grackle  1     Heard
Boat-tailed Grackle  1
Brown-headed Cowbird  2     Heard
House Finch  1     Heard, parking lot

No comments:

Post a Comment