Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Confession of a Shorebird Junkie...

Dear Readers, I must apologize for the lack of material on the blog.  It is not due to laziness or neglect, but rather I have been spending a lot of my time shorebirding.  Last year the shorebird season was a complete bust that left me with an insatiable craving for shorebirds and I have not yet had my fill!

Short-billed Dowitchers at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
What a difference a year makes!  Last year the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, was a bust for shorebirds.  Weather, a busted drainage mechanism and lack of funds in the NPS (National Park Service) budget to address the issue resulted in a miserable summer for shorebird junkies like myself.  And boy do I have it bad. You could almost say that without my shorebird fix, I was having the shakes, like a bad Dr. Gonzo (See Hunter Thompson) acid trip.  It was so bad, I was running around visiting places like Heckscher State Park and areas in Orange County all trying to get a fix.  I confess, I am a shorebird junkie!!

Say what!?  From Jamaica Bay to Heckscher State Park?  Hey, I am not knocking any of those places; but lets face the reality,  that's like saying you went from grade "A" to something that is not so high in quality.  Wait, don't get any ideas from this...I am talking about shorebirding here.  Plus, I did enjoy learning those new spots, but the truth is, none of them could come close to Jamaica Bay!!!

Least Sandpiper at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
This year, NPS came through!  The Little Dahlings fixed the drainage system and began lowering the water earlier than usual.  As a result, I and other shorebird fans have been in shorebird heaven.  I have enjoyed myself so much that I have been reluctant to bird elsewhere, fueling rumors that I might have a hidden camp on the pond (no comments).  The habitat on the East Pond has favored the shorebirds so well this year that the birds have showed up by the hundreds sometimes thousands and we have already had several days with over 4,000 shorebirds on the pond. Want more proof on how good it is.  Well, we had 3 Ruffs (Philomachus pugnax) show up on the East Pond this year.  And while the window for those Asiatic rarities is "supposed" to be closing, I would like to think that anything is possible through August into September.

White-rumped Sandpiper at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Eventually the shorebird season will wind down, but when that gets here I will deal with it.  All I could think of at the moment, is we have another month or so and I am going to enjoy every moment I get to look at shorebirds and when the season comes to an end.  Well,...lets hope I don't go through some horrible withdrawal because you will not want to be around me then.

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