Sunday, May 14, 2017

East Point Lighthouse 5/14--Red Knot

East Point Lighthouse
One of the birders on our trip, who lives up in north Jersey, really wanted to see a Red Knot today, as it would be a life bird for her. Mike & Pete were pretty confident in getting one; me, not so much. The sub-species of Red Knot that arrives on the shores of the Delaware Bay in May is endangered because their main food, the eggs of Horseshoe Crabs, have been in decline for years. I didn't think the impoundments of Heislerville were a likely place to spot one (and if there was one, good luck finding it in the thousands of Dunlins and dowitchers feeding on the mud). There wasn't one there, so we pushed on to East Point Lighthouse a couple of miles away. The tide was high and there was little beach. There were small flocks of dowitchers, Semipalmated Sandpipers, and Ruddy Turnstones, but not knots.

We drove over to the lighthouse itself and looked on the beach, only to find more of the same shorebirds. Disappointing. Then, proving my theory, yet again, that you have to truly give up on the bird before you see it, just as everyone was turning away from the beach, Pete cried out that a knot had flown by. It landed about 50 yards away on the beach, affording all a great look at the bird and getting at least one birder there a lifer. A year bird for me. I told her my theory, but she disagreed, as she had never given up on the bird. So perhaps a modification of the theory is in order: Larry has to truly give up on the bird before it will be seen.

17 species
Double-crested Cormorant 2
Osprey 4
Semipalmated Plover 15
Ruddy Turnstone 15
Red Knot 1
Dunlin 2
Least Sandpiper 3
Semipalmated Sandpiper 50
Short-billed Dowitcher 10
Laughing Gull 25
Herring Gull 10
Great Black-backed Gull 1
Forster's Tern 5
Barn Swallow 1
Song Sparrow 1
Red-winged Blackbird 1
Boat-tailed Grackle 4

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