Saturday, September 5, 2015

Brig 9/5--Hudsonian Godwit, Wilson's Snipe

As my friend Bob Auster pointed out, two year birds in September is pretty good. Shari & I did a loop around Brig today, starting around 1 o'clock. The tide was high and the birding pretty ordinary along the south dike, although 12 Wood Ducks at the Gull Pond was a treat. The water levels in the impoundments didn't look especially low to me. We spent some time scanning the flats at near the observation tower, looking for grasspipers, but came up empty.

At the dogleg a few birders were gathered and one lady pointed out an American Golden Plover way back in the vegetation. She was from England and very happy because it was a lifer for her. I was happy because it was a state bird for us. After she and her friend left, Shari kept scanning and came up with, finally, our year (maybe two year) Hudsonian Godwit. I spent quite a while looking at it through the scope to make sure I wasn't misidentifying it; I've seen enough Marbled Godwits to know that it wasn't one of those, but, distance, heat shimmer, scope eye fatigue, all add an element of uncertainty to a rarely seen bird's i.d.

We drove along and caught up to the the plover women and told them about the Hudwit. Shari & I once backed up about 3/4 of a mile to the dogleg from about the spot we were in to see  Baird's and Buff-breasted Sandpipers there (as if backing up didn't violate the one-way restrictions on the drive). The ladies didn't do that--they'd planned on doing two loops anyway.

We continued on and just before the drive went into the woods at Jen's Trail we came upon a couple of birders avidly scoping. They had North Carolina plates, so I figured they were seeing something that doesn't get down south much, but it turned out to be a rental car to two birders from Spain. When we first made eye contact the look he gave me with a shrug said we had to look at what he had. It turned out to be a Wilson's Snipe, another year bird (a lifer for them). It was fairly distant, of course, but the long bill, the striped head, and the feeding motion were all there in the scope. I looked at it for a long time while Shari gave them birding hot spots they should consider. I don't see many snipes in a year.

All these cool birds were too distant for photography.

In all we had 49 species for our loop. They were:
Canada Goose  100
Mute Swan  25     many cygnets
Wood Duck  12
Gadwall  5
American Black Duck  50
Mallard  75
Blue-winged Teal  25
Double-crested Cormorant  30
Great Blue Heron  3
Great Egret  75
Snowy Egret  50
Little Blue Heron  2     Gull Pond
Black-crowned Night-Heron  1     Dogleg
Glossy Ibis  3
Osprey  5
Northern Harrier  2
American Oystercatcher  2
American Golden-Plover  1     dogleg
Semipalmated Plover  50
Greater Yellowlegs  6
Lesser Yellowlegs
Hudsonian Godwit  1     dogleg
Dunlin  3
Least Sandpiper  10
Semipalmated Sandpiper  100
Semipalmated/Western Sandpiper  2
Short-billed Dowitcher  15
Long-billed Dowitcher  2
Wilson's Snipe  1     North dike, south side, just before Jen's trail
Laughing Gull  300
Ring-billed Gull  1
Herring Gull  100
Great Black-backed Gull  10
Caspian Tern  15
Forster's Tern  100
Black Skimmer  7
Mourning Dove  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1     Heard, picnic tables
Peregrine Falcon  1
American Crow  15
Tree Swallow  50
Barn Swallow  25
Carolina Chickadee  1     Heard, upland portion
Tufted Titmouse  1     Heard, picnic tables
Gray Catbird  1     Heard, picnic tables
European Starling  25
Cedar Waxwing  1     Heard, picnic tables
Seaside Sparrow  2
Red-winged Blackbird  100
Brown-headed Cowbird  2

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