Thursday, August 8, 2013

Working on those Pecs...

Despite the threat of rain, I went birding in overcast conditions, hoping to refind the Wilson's Phalarope that went missing late yesterday morning.  Well, no Wilson's Phalarope today on the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens NY, but enough birds to keep me busy until the Peregrine Falcons put them up and just like that they were back into the bay and off the pond. It has to be quite frustrating for folks who make the long trek into Queens only to have their shorebirding jacked up by the marauding Peregrines. I feel their pain, but I suppose it is the sacrifice one must make to do the pilgrimage at the East Pond. So Dowitcher fans (there are those out there...yes?)  Take a look at the photo above and tell me your thoughts about the paler Dowitcher in the middle.  It is a Short-billed Dowitcher.  But can you age the bird and tell me the subspecies?

Red Knot (middle) still in nice breeding plumage
Today, I managed to spend some time working through the shorebirds and the flock that usually gather at the spit after Dead Man's Cove were quite cooperative allowing me to scan through them for a bit. Again proving that if you stay against the phragmites, the birds will come to the shore from the Island. Sifting through the flock, I found 4 Red Knots in a variety of plumage with some hardly recognizable, to one that was still retaining good breeding plumage.

Pectoral Sandpiper in the back of the flock
It was while I was working over the flock that I found a Pectoral Sandpiper a bird that was not there and suddenly it was; that is the beauty of the ever changing flow of birds on the pond. Pectoral Sandpipers have been rather scarce on the pond with only 6 for the season so far that I am aware of; save for a few days when there were four of them, the other was seen last Thursday during a downpour and now today's bird. I also managed to find two banded Semipalmated Sandpipers. One had a flag and a federal band and the other only had a federal band. I'll be submitting these two birds to get some information on who did the banding and where.

Pectoral Sandpiper
It seems I can't get enough of those odd looking peeps.  I am fascinated by their molt and the variation of their bill and shape.  Here is an interesting looking bird. Thoughts and comments are always welcome.

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