I stopped by Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens NY, yesterday morning to check out the water level on the East Pond, which has become a focal point of concern for many birders. Last year, it was felt by many that the pond was not managed very well during peak shorebird season and so folks are extra sensitive about it this year. From my perspective, the refuge management are doing what they can to ensure the water level is managed effectively. I have had several conversations with them recently and they have indicated that the water level is already being reduced in anticipation of the shorebird migration. I would hope folks exercise patience as the architecture of the drainage system depends on less or no rain to be effective. Hopefully if all goes as planned, we will have decent amount of mudflats opening up within a few weeks.
Getting back to my visit; I hiked the West Pond a little past Terrapin Trail and saw the current usual species. I did get some interesting photos of non breeding Forster's Terns, something I find quite useful for my birding ID education. Over at Big John's, I had excellent looks at Black Crowned Night Herons and 1 Green Heron. Further out on the East Pond, I scanned the far shore thoroughly and sure enough, I found what I was hoping for. Signs of early shorebird arrivals in Greater Yellowlegs (6), Lesser Yellowlegs (13) and Shortbilled Dowitcher (6). Tags: Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, birding, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Forster's Tern