Saturday, July 09, 2011

July 9 - Cupsogue Beach terns

Out with friend Simon K. today at the Suffolk County, Long Island park at Cupsogue Beach.  Our targets today were seabirds and terns.  We started out just after 8 a.m with a seawatch from the boardwalk.  Here we met Tom B. and Gail B., along with Doug F.

Immediately we wee able to see quite a few Cory's Shearwaters as they worked the wakes left by the fishing trawlers. Along with the shearwaters we were able to get distant views of several Wilson's Storm Petrels.

Next we headed into the back bay and its sandbars to view the terns.  There we of course many Common Terns and it was nice to see them in their full summer colors.  Also seen were a few Forster's Terns, and Least Terns, along with up to 4 Black Terns ranging in variations of all breeding plumages.  The bird of the day was undoubtedly the first-summer plumaged Arctic Tern.  We saw this bird as soon as we got out onto the sandbars, thanks to Brent B. who had already located the bird.  The Arctic Tern was a life bird, # 614, for me so I was quite happy.

click images to enlarge

Visit Andrew's blog for superb shots of the bird.

Later we had fine views of a breeding plumaged Roseate Tern, and subsequently a first-summer Roseate Tern was also seen here. Note the black bill and orange legs on the leftmost bird.

Other birds seen were Black Skimmers, Little Blue Heron, Ruddy Turnstone, Red Knot, SB Dowitchers, Pectoral Sandpiper, Dunlin. Least Sandpiper and several of the more common species.

Later that afternoon we drove a bit farther east to Shinnecock Inlet, and there too we had a few Cory's Shearwaters, and Simon picked out yet another Roseate Tern amongst the flock of Commons feeding in the inlet.  A great day to be out with friends and to make some new ones.