With Hurricane Irene looming, I tried to get out in the field as much as possible especially to look for shorebirds. My favorite Pre-Irene Hurricane bird was the Baird's Sandpiper seen at Heckscher State Park. A Lark Sparrow found with a couple of fellow Queens birders the next day was a treat, but by now readers should know how enamored I am of the shorebirds, so please excuse my bias :) Here are a few photos of some of the birds seen this week.
This crisp juvenile Baird's Sandpiper was found by LI birders, Ken and Sue Feustel, at Heckscher State Park Field 6, on August 24th, while they were out looking for Common Nighhawks. The next day I went out to the location and spent a few hours before re-finding the bird, as it flew in to feed in one of the shallow pools in the parking lot at Field 6.
After arriving home from my day out on Long Island, I was on the phone with a friend of mine, who was calling me with advice on how to bird during Hurricane Irene. The call with Andy Balidelli was interrupted when I spotted a flash of yellow and picked up a Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens) in my backyard. I was able to obtain a documentation shot and yesterday finally got a better photo. I did not see this bird today despite several sessions of backyard bird watching.
This next bird, I will have to be vague about where exactly it was found because the location is sensitive. Having birded Floyd Bennett Field in the morning and getting a look at my second Baird's Sandpiper (Calidris bairdii) in two days. This one in Kings County, I had the good fortune to connect with fellow Queens birders, Seth Asubel and Corey Finger of 10000birds. We birded some areas in Queens and found a very good bird in a Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus). Picked out by Seth, this is a western grassland bird and not common in our area. It is only during migration we might get lucky with 1 or 2 dropping in and most of these reported sightings are out on Long Island. This was a rather exciting find for Corey and I as we both added a new bird to our Queens County list.
Found today by birder Pete Chen, at Meadow Lake in Flushing Queens, this was a very good find for Queens and makes my second sighting of Caspian Terns (Sterna caspia) in the county. Several Queens birders made it out to the location before the rain intensified and got to see the birds. An Adult and a juvenile Caspian Tern was a nice way to wrap up the Pre-Hurricane Irene birding. Other birds seen today include Mitred Parakeets (Aratinga mitrata), a flock of six flying over the backyard and a Least Flycatcher (Empidonax minimus) seen fly catching in the garden. While I hope to see a really special bird, my first concern is of the safety of birds and birders. Whatever you do, stay safe!
Tags: Heckscher State Park, Baird's Sandpiper, Yellow-breasted Chat, Lark Sparrow, Caspian Terns