Monday, May 2, 2016

Brig 5/1--Whimbrel, Least Sandpiper, Gull-billed Tern

Gull-billed Terns flanked by Forster's Terns with Laughing Gull and American Oystercatcher
The second part of our birding weekend is a trip to Brig. This was problematic because
A) Only about a mile of the Wildlife Drive is open due to reconstruction of the roadway and dikes
B) It was raining. Hard.

Still, Bob & I (Shari had other plans) drove down and met a few other hardy souls. The rain was unrelenting, but we were, after all, in cars equipped with walkie-talkies and even with the little stretch of drive still open (along with the Gull Pond) we all added year birds--my three were concentrated on the little exposed sandbar near the observation tower (where all vehicles must turn around): Whimbrel, Least Sandpiper, and, most surprising of all, 2 Gull-billed Terns.

By the time we were driving back to the parking lot after our 2nd look at the Gull Pond the steady rain had become a true downpour and we figured that 2 hours and over 40 species was pretty good under the circumstances. Maybe it was time to call the game on account of rain.

But Mike saw that the Fork-tailed Flycatcher that had been reported at Assunpink on Saturday had been seen again that morning and we all agreed it was worth the 60 mile drive to try for the bird. We reconvened the trip in the field where a few years ago a Northern Shrike spent a good part of the winter. Many birder friends and acquaintances were already there, soaking, and Bob & I stood there, for over an hour as my waterproof shoes proved to no longer be waterproof and the flycatcher, which had been seen about 2 hours before we arrived, did not show up. By then, birding did not pass the "fun" test and we slogged back through the field, drove out on the mud road and despite the disappointment of not finding that rarity, we were more than satisfied with the weekend's results.

My Brig list:
43 species (+1 other taxa)
Canada Goose  50     many along roadside
Wood Duck  6
Mallard  3
Green-winged Teal  10
Great Blue Heron  1
Great Egret  10
Snowy Egret  5
Glossy Ibis  40
Osprey  4     one with a fish in its talons eluded an eagle
Bald Eagle  3     juv failed at getting fish from Osprey
Clapper Rail  1     Heard
American Coot  1
American Oystercatcher  1
Black-bellied Plover  2
Semipalmated Plover  5
Greater Yellowlegs  10
Willet  20
Lesser Yellowlegs  5
Whimbrel  1
Dunlin  200
Least Sandpiper  3
Semipalmated Sandpiper  10
Short-billed Dowitcher  5
Wilson's Snipe  1
Laughing Gull  1
Herring Gull  25
Great Black-backed Gull  5
Gull-billed Tern  2
Caspian Tern  2
Forster's Tern  4
Peregrine Falcon  1
Fish Crow  1     heard
crow sp.  1
Tree Swallow  1
Barn Swallow  10
American Robin  1
Common Yellowthroat  2     Heard
Yellow Warbler
 2     Heard
Seaside Sparrow  5
White-throated Sparrow  1     Heard
Savannah Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  2
Red-winged Blackbird  20
Common Grackle  2

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