My afternoon started with a stop in Brooklyn where I visited Marine Park looking for a Sora that was reportedly heard on June 22nd. As I began the hike, I heard the unmistakable call of Black-billed Cuckoo. I had heard there were fledglings in the park; however, I saw neither Adults or Young. The walk was short and very quickly, I was almost to the end. I stopped over by the boardwalk a place known for Clapper Rail and I had quite a surprise in catching a Clapper Rail sunning itself. I quietly got off a few shots before it detected my presence and sulked away into the grass. As for the Sora...well no sign or sound indicated its presence. I thought of stopping by Floyd Bennett Field, but instead decided to visit my favorite haunt...Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. My first stop at JBWR, was over at Big John's pond, where I ran into several photographers in the blind taking photos of Yellow-Crowned night Heron and Green Heron. I found an open slot in the blind and got off a few shots myself.
Another birder Keith Micheal (sp) stopped by briefly and then headed towards the East Pond. I joined him shortly and I am glad that I did because Keith spotted the bird of the day. I was scoping the far shore looking for shorebirds, that I had seen the other day, when Keith suddenly blurted, "That is a Least Bittern"...I raised my head quickly asking where and Keith pointed to a bird flying towards us over the East Pond. I got my bins up just as it went by us and got good looks. Good Grief! Indeed, it was a Least Bittern. Of course as luck would have it, I did not have any time to get a shot...even for documentation purposes. I congratulated Keith on the sight and the call for it was an excellent one. We parted ways after a few minutes and I hung around the pond for a bit wishing the Bittern would show, this time for a photo. Well,...it did not happen, so after a few minutes, I headed back across the road to the West Pond. The trail was quiet, just how I like it. It did not take long to find what I had been looking for earlier, Shorebirds. Shortbilled Dowitchers, two Least Sandpipers and a Spotted Sandpiper were feeding on some mud flats that were just showing. I was pleased. I knew the shorebirds that I had seen the other day was no fluke. Birds were moving in...even though it was still early.
I paused and scanned the West Pond carefully and I was rewarded with even more shorebirds in Long-billed Dowitchers, Lesser Yellow Legs and Greater Yellow Legs. In another week or two, we should have some interesting times at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge...who knows what or who will drop by.