Saturday, August 30, 2008

August 30 - Brigantine aka Forsythe NWR

Today John Workman and I made a very early visit to Brigantine and we were rewarded in spades.
The highest species count I have ever had here, with over 80 species seen today.

Highlights were Godwits of Hudsonian & Marbled, American Avocet, Pelican & Golden Plover , 7 Buff-Breasted Sandpipers, along with Stilt Sandpipers and an astonishing 5 Red-Necked Phalaropes.

A Hudsonian Godwit:


Friday, August 29, 2008

August 28 - Walker Avenue Wetlands

I've been stopping here nightly after work for the past 3-4 weeks, with last night being one of the better nights for both species & individuals.
Of note was this Glossy Ibis:
credit: Kevin Bolton @

Also there were:
Least Sandpiper
Spotted Sandpiper
Solitary Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper
Lesser Yellowlegs
Greater Yellowlegs (1)
Snipe (1)
Glossy Ibis (1)
Blue-winged Teal
Mute Swan
Wood Duck
Canada Goose
Great Egret
Great Blue Heron

Seen earlier this week:
Green Heron
Pied-Billed Grebe

My biggest surprise is that I've yet to see a Little Blue Heron here, while the conditions seems just right for them.

With all the exposed grass I am hoping for Buffy, Baird's, and Golden Plover during September.

Time will tell !!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

August 18 - Walker Avenue Wetlands

On my commute home from work I drive through the township of Wayne, NJ and during certain times of year I will stop here for a few minutes to enjoy the birds. Recently the bird activity here has been increasing and last night's stop brought one of the better recent visits.

Not only were the numbers of birds at a high point, so too were the number of species.
The shorebirds present were the sandpiper species of Pectoral, Solitary, Spotted, Least and Semi-Palmated. Also seen were other shorebirds of Lesser Yellowlegs and Killdeer.

Wading birds of Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, and Green Heron were seen, and the ducks were represented by Mallard, Wood, Canada Goose, and Pied-Billed Grebe.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

August 17 - Ulster & Sullivan County rarities

Just before 7 am this morning I made my first stop in Ulster County's Shawangunk NWR, specifically at the Galeville Park area. There I ran into Curt McDermott & Rob Stone, and together we waited about 30 minutes for the Scissor-Tailed Flycather to put on it's show. I had last seen this species in April 2004 while birding in the lower Rio Grande area of Texas.
credit: Peter Schoenberger

I enjoyed this bird for a half-hour as it enjoyed catching breakfast !.
Afterward I headed further north and west to the Sullivan County town of Neversink.
Here I ran into friend and fellow Fyke Nature Club member Kevin Watson. We were there to look for the White-Winged Crossbills that had been recently reported from a boggy area on Cooley Road. After a hlaf-hour or so, I heard the birds singing and then I was able to locate a male WW Crossbill at the top of a pine tree. I was able to scope this bird for about 5 seconds before it dropped down and out of sight. Another 45 minutes of waiting paid off as this time we saw a male/female pair in a dead tree. Here the birds sat for quite a while offering fantastic views.


This was the third time I have seen this species, once in Maine and lastly in the Lake Placid area in the late winter 2006. It was much nicer to enjoy these birds in sun while wearing shorts !

Sunday, August 03, 2008

August 3 - Jamaica Bay rarities

Wow, a banner day today. My friends, who yesterday had seen the rare asian migrant of Red-Necked Stint here, decided to make a return trip and I fortunately joined them.
I had seen this Stint species once before, up in Connecticut in July 2006.

While searching for this bird, another birder in Phil Jeffrey, saw a Sharp-Tailed Sandpiper !!


This bird appeared very dark, due to the heavy barring of the chevrons, and it's red cap stood out especially as the day progressed & the lighting got brighter. We were able to see the bird on three separate occasions, with the views getting better each time, due to better light.
credit: Ed Coyle

credit: Doug Gochfeld

This is just the 3rd accepted record of this species in New York State.
This siberian breeder does have records of juveniles that reach northwestern Alaska.

Later this morning I spotted the Red-Necked Stint which has been here since Friday, August 1.
The Stint is the 5th accepted record for the State of New York. Typically this species is found in Asia, with a breeding range that reaches into northwestern Alaska

Stint photos courtesy of Doug Gochfeld.
More can be seen @

We had incredible views of this bird from just about 25 feet away. In fact it was too close for a spotting scope at certain times !

Visit Doug's website for a pair of quick videos showing the bird feeding.

August 2 - Brigantine

Late this morning I met up my friend Rob F. and, along with Chris B., we birded a loop together.

First up we got to see distant views of the White Pelican. It was in the vicinity of the large observation tower that is on the south dike. Also seen here were nice views of Western, as well as, Stilt Sandpipers.
Stilt Sandpiper credit: Royse

I was the only one who caught a glimpse of a Tri-Colored Heron before it slipped below the reeds. Rob picked out a Black-Bellied Plover for the group to enjoy. Later a distant Cattle Egret was also seen, however Rob has seen two at close range earlier in the day before I had arrived. A woman pointed out a lone Ruddy Turnstone to us.

A Royal Tern was quite a surprise, as it was the first sighting of this species for me here, # 168 for my Brig list.
credit: George Jameson

This was also a nice comparison to the other Caspian Terns that I saw here today:
credit: Unknown

The Gull Pond had a juvenile Little Blue Heron, Snowy & Great Egrets, Great-Blue and Black-Crowned Herons, and a singing Blue Grosbeak. We all got to see the Glaucous Gull as close range, and I found a summering/juvenile Brant.

I'm quite sure there were more species here today. Unfortunately, I was living on borrowed time and could only make a quick loop through this fantastic place.