Sunday, July 16, 2017

Brig 7/15--Western Sandpiper

Western Sandpiper
In the summer, there really isn't anyplace to go but Brig if you want shorebirds and waders. For the next 6 weeks there are weekly Audubon trips to the 8 mile Wildlife Drive. Shari & I went drove down with Mike for his first Shorebird Saturday yesterday. I was hoping for a little more in the way of year birds, but wound up with only one. There are a couple of shorebirds that I just don't like to i.d. myself unless I'm right on top of them and Western Sandpiper is one of them. Happily, Mike and another birder on our trip are much more keen-sighted and confident than I am, so we managed at least a couple of these southbound peeps mixed in, maddeningly with Semipalmated Sandpipers and Least Sandpipers.

Another bird I'm reluctant to call is Long-billed Dowitcher, which I was hoping to see yesterday. There was at least one there, but our group never saw it. Luckily, this bird gets more common as the season progresses until in the autumn it is actually the more likely bird as opposed to it near lookalike Short-billed Dowitcher, of which there were plenty yesterday.Voice is a good separator of the two species, like the two yellowlegs, but, unlike the yellowlegs, I don't ever seem to hear them chatter.

We had 12 shorebird species altogether, a couple of them of the supposedly hard to i.d. variety, but if I see a Pectoral Sandpiper or a Stilt Sandpiper, I'm confident of my identification. I don't have trouble calling; I just have trouble finding them in the ever shifting flocks of peeps and dowitchers. Again, sharper, more patient eyes than mine were of great assistance.

Two trips around the loop and a little walking around the trails produced 77 species for the day. There's probably no place else in NJ  right now where you can pick up that many species in a day.

Snow Goose 2 Continuing injured
Canada Goose 100
Mute Swan 5
Wood Duck 15
Mallard 10
Double-crested Cormorant 10
Great Blue Heron 2
Great Egret 35
Snowy Egret 15
Little Blue Heron 1
Black-crowned Night-Heron 7
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 1
Glossy Ibis 25
Turkey Vulture 1
Osprey 10
Bald Eagle 1
Clapper Rail 3
Common Gallinule 1
American Oystercatcher 4
Semipalmated Plover 5
Whimbrel 1
Stilt Sandpiper 4
Least Sandpiper 10
Pectoral Sandpiper 3
Semipalmated Sandpiper 215
Western Sandpiper 2 Rufous, bigger than semi bill noticeably longer
Short-billed Dowitcher 115
Greater Yellowlegs 1
Willet 9
Lesser Yellowlegs 7
Laughing Gull 45
Ring-billed Gull 1
Herring Gull 30
Great Black-backed Gull 8
Least Tern 10
Gull-billed Tern 2
Caspian Tern 3
Common Tern 1
Forster's Tern 100
Black Skimmer 55
Mourning Dove 10
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1
Downy Woodpecker 2
Northern Flicker 1 Heard
Peregrine Falcon 1
Willow Flycatcher 2
Eastern Phoebe 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 1
Eastern Kingbird 2
American Crow 1 Heard
Fish Crow 4
Purple Martin 10
Tree Swallow 1
Barn Swallow 4
Carolina Chickadee 1 Heard
Tufted Titmouse 2 Heard
House Wren 2
Marsh Wren 5
Carolina Wren 1 Heard
American Robin 1
Gray Catbird 3
European Starling 20
Common Yellowthroat 2
Yellow Warbler
Seaside Sparrow 3
Chipping Sparrow 2 Heard
Field Sparrow 1 Heard
Song Sparrow 1
Eastern Towhee 1 Heard
Northern Cardinal 1 Heard
Blue Grosbeak 2
Indigo Bunting 1
Red-winged Blackbird 20
Boat-tailed Grackle 1
Orchard Oriole 2
House Finch 4
American Goldfinch 3

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