Sunday, July 30, 2017

Brig 7/30--Black Tern

Brig yet again. After feeling thoroughly beat up by Brig yesterday (the wind, the high water, the gray day), I decided to go back to see if I could do better on a day where the viewing conditions weren't so onerous. Since I knew Bob Auster was intending to go today, I texted him my intentions and, happily, I decided to go back to the parking lot from the Gull Pond to use the outhouse before turning on the 8 mile drive, because he responded just as I was making the decision not to turn right. We met up and returned to the Gull Pond tower, where I had found the sporadically reported, out-of-season Pied-bill Grebe. It was still in sight.

Then we turned on to the Wildlife Drive to seek out the rare and not officially rare (but hard to get) birds that had been reported. Bob needed White Ibis as a state bird (Shari & I got a brief look at one yesterday) and if wasn't too long before we found one, a juvenile, in the impoundment off the south dike.
White Ibis
We moved up the road to Goose Marker 4, a spot that all year has had an island where terns and skimmers have roosted but the water was still too high. We ran into a couple of guys we knew who had the other White Ibis (another juvenile), as well as an American Avocet. While avocet at this time of year is not considered rare by eBird, you typically only get one or so a season. Brig ain't Bombay Hook where you might find 400 this time of year. I'd seen one avocet there in June, but both Bob & I needed it for the state.
American Avocet
While at least today I have a picture of yesterday's year bird, I don't think tomorrow I'll be able to get a photo of today's. The juvenile Black Tern that a group of us picked out on the mud flat at the NE corner of the drive was too far away for any decent photography (or even crappy digiscopes, which I tried), but it was clearly a different, small tern easily distinguished from the much larger Forster's Terns (or as spellchecker would have it "Forester's Terns" brought to you by Subaru) and the few Least Terns it was resting with. Keener eyes than mine were able to pick out a few Common Terns flying around the water control sluice gate; I need them to be still before I can pick one out.  Again, Black Tern is supposedly expected this time of year but it is still a much sought after bird, like a fruit that is only in season for a couple of weeks. Later, on our second trip around, Bob and I found the bird roosting on the roadway with a few Least Terns, but, before I could get the camera on and focused, another vehicle flushed them into the air.

Yesterday, under terrible conditions I had 42 species. Today, while it was still breezy, it was clear and sunny and not nearly as blustery; I had 57 species. Meh.

Canada Goose 80
Mute Swan 6
Wood Duck 6 Gull Pond
American Black Duck 6
Mallard 6
Pied-billed Grebe 1 Gull Pond. Stubby, pied bill. Continuing
Double-crested Cormorant 5
Great Blue Heron 3
Great Egret 50
Snowy Egret 40
Black-crowned Night-Heron 2
White Ibis 2 Continuing. Brown above white below.
Glossy Ibis 12
Turkey Vulture 2
Osprey 10
Clapper Rail 3
American Avocet 1
American Oystercatcher 1
Semipalmated Plover 50
Least Sandpiper 9
Semipalmated Sandpiper 300
Western Sandpiper 1 On rocks of Turtle Cove
Short-billed Dowitcher 4
Greater Yellowlegs 2
Willet 1
Lesser Yellowlegs 2
Laughing Gull 100
Herring Gull 50
Great Black-backed Gull 10
Least Tern 3
Gull-billed Tern 4
Caspian Tern 1
Black Tern 1 N
Forster's Tern 50
Black Skimmer 30
Mourning Dove 4
Eastern Kingbird 3
Blue Jay 1 Heard Upland
Fish Crow 1
Purple Martin 2
Tree Swallow 50
Barn Swallow 5
Carolina Chickadee 2 Heard
Marsh Wren 3 Heard
Carolina Wren 2 Heard
American Robin 3
Gray Catbird 2
European Starling 1
Common Yellowthroat 1 Heard
Yellow Warbler
1 Heard
Chipping Sparrow 2 Heard Parking Lot
Field Sparrow 1 Heard
Song Sparrow 2 Heard
Eastern Towhee 1 Heard, upland section
Red-winged Blackbird 10
Common Grackle 1
American Goldfinch 2

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