It was another afternoon on the East Pond after speaking with Eric Miller and deciding we would leave our habitat exploration for another day.
Of course you know I went looking for shorebirds.
Yes, I just can't get enough of shorebirding, plus with the Wood Sandpiper that showed up in Rhode Island, which was then upended by a Gray-tailed Tattler on Nantucket Island in MA (still in awe at how Jeremiah Trimble pulled this one off). I mean why would I not be on the East Pond at Jamaica Bay in Queens, looking in my neck of the woods for a shorebird rarity.
Based on the cloud cover I could sense that I was going to lose the afternoon light quickly, so I hustled up the pond to look at some Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) that I had spotted up north from the East Pond entrance. While counting I came across a bird that had all the field marks of a GRYE, but the bill was slightly "decurved". In my head I ran through the images of rare "tringas" that I had studied, but I could not find a match - Green Sandpiper NO, Wood Sandpiper NO, NO, juvenile Spotted Redshank...a pause, but NO again and now I am reaching. Focus lad, focus, don't get caught up with "raritis" I cautioned myself.
In the end I chalked this up as just a Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) with an odd looking bill. With the number of Yellowlegs I have looked at, this was the first time I had ever seen a bird like this and so it deserved a bit of a study.
Just so you know, to be on the safe side, I sent the image to a number of birding experts and only one has responded so far but his word is worth its weight in gold. David Sibley, agreed with me that this was just a Greater Yellowlegs with an odd bill, but liked that I studied it well to rule out any other species. What do you think?
Tags: Greater Yellowlegs, Jamaica Bay Queens, Wood Sandpiper, Gray-tailed Tattler