|6-29-13 Birders at Sandy Point MA trying to remain hopeful for a Red-necked Stint|
By 2:30 a.m. on Saturday morning I was on the road; with a few sips of coffee to keep me awake and NPR on the air, I was Massachusetts bound. It was a long ride, but I did very well with one stop for gas. By 5:47 a.m. I was pulling up to Jason's house. He was ready despite me being ahead of schedule by half an hour. We made one stop for much needed coffee and a breakfast snack and then it was onto Plum Island. We pulled into Sandy Point about 1 hour later and walked down the beach to the area where the bird was last seen the day before. Fast forward 7 hours later and no RNST. Many birders had shown up and many were sympathetic once they found out I was the driver of the truck with NY license plates. I was down but not out; I kept telling myself that the bird would show and if not, well there was always a chance of one in NY. By 1:00 p.m. Jason and I decided it was time and so I dropped him off and began the long haul back to Queens NY. The ride back to NY was harder especially after dipping on the bird. Around 4:00 p.m. I put in a return a call to my friends Tom Burke and Gail Benson who had called earlier; due to my phone running out of juice, I was not able to return the call earlier but now was able to do so after recharging while driving. Tom and Gail were surprised to learn that I twitched the Red-necked Stint in MA and were disappointed to learn that I did not see the bird, but I was upbeat telling Gail that I was fine and looking forward to finding my own in NY. I later learned the next day that Shai Mitra and Tom in a conversation the very same day after learning about my dip indicated I would be just fine. They both predicted that I would someday find my own in NY...with Tom going as far as saying maybe even the MA bird if it came to NY.
Back in NY, I was exhausted from the long drive, but still went out to dinner and the next day was up at 5:00 a.m. and on the road to Cupsogue LI for some birding. I got there in good time, where I met Tom and Gail and did a brief seawatch with them in foggy conditions before heading out onto the flats. The tide was low and there were a few birders out on the flats. A few of them I knew by face but not by name and after exchanging the usual courtesy greetings, I continued on towards another birder whom I recognized as Dave Klauber. Dave and I began discussing the recent good showing of Arctic Terns at Cupsogue; as if on cue, I had a brief glimpse of a 1st summer Arctic but the bird had moved by the time I took my eyes off it to tell other birders and I could not refind it. Admittedly, I was not too focused on the Tern flock but was more interested in the small but increased number of peeps I had noticed running around on the flats. This was more peeps than I had seen at Cupsogue over the past few days and I was encouraged at the possibility of finding something interesting. Yes, Red-necked Stint was on my mind, but I was not thinking that I would find one, just that based on principle I had to pay attention, to look. And so I told Dave that I was going to spend some time looking through the peeps and began scanning the flats for any groups of peeps that were feeding.
!@#$%^&* way! I silently cursed myself, thinking that I was having a case of raritis. Visions of Andy Balldeli and I with the blown Temminck's Stint call and Shia Mitra reminding us not to let raritis take over good judgement entered my head.
|Shorebirds in flight - the Red-necked Stint is the 3rd bird from the bottom|
|Notice no webbing on the toes - typical for a Stint and a key field mark.|
Tags: Cupsogue, Long Island, Red-necked Stint, Massachusetts
, Sandy Point