Monday, November 4, 2013

Peregrines are PUNKS!!!

Yep, those swift flying beasts of the skies, known to clock over 320 KM or 200 MPH when in hunting dive modes are PUNKS!  I said it and what else can they do to me that they have not done already during the shorebird season?  Nothing!! So there, you have it and I am not backing down.  Punks, I say Punks!  I have countless examples of punk behavior but I will share the most recent.

Lord of the East Pond?  looks like a PUNK to me!
Yesterday, I was out birding on a frigid morning on the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens.  I figured that with all the attention out East on Long Island with the New York State Ornithological Association conference field trips. Someone had to keep an eye on things locally and I was quite happy to do just that at one of my favorites spots.  I was also motivated by an eBird report of Lesser Yellowlegs. I had not seen any in about 2 weeks and since it was getting late, I wanted to check for the presence of LEYE on the pond.

Such attitude!  Definitely a PUNK but I love them too :)
It was quiet, cold and cloudy making for a not so glorious day to be out on the East Pond but I have experienced worse and so despite being under dressed.  I hiked up the east side heading north on the pond.  I encountered the usual waterfowl noting the increase in species like Northen Pintail, American Wigeon and Hooded Mergansers.  I kept my eyes out for shorebirds and found a group of Yellowlegs at the Raunt.  I carefully scanned them, several times but found only Greater Yellowlegs.  There were also Dunlins in the area and I studied them while taking a count.

I scanned up north trying to see if it was worth making the hike and decided to go for it.  Once I got past Andrew's crossing (this is the gravel berm that plugged the breach on the east side of the pond). I began picking up small flocks of Dunlins flying south and I was encouraged thinking that maybe more birds were flying in from the bay.  I then spotted small shapes across the pond and a careful scan revealed over 200 Dunlins feeding near Dead Man's Cove.  I scanned the feeding flock several times and picked out 4 small peeps with the flock.  I was excited to see that many shorebirds this late in the season on the pond and decided to make the hike around to the other side to get a closer look.

I have lost track of how many encounters I have had this year like this.  PUNKS!
As I made my way up north to get around to the other side, it crossed my mind, that it would SUCK if I got all the way around and Falco peregrinus showed up and spooked everything. Nevertheless, I did not break stride, it was a gamble I had to take if I wanted to get closer to the shorebirds.  So by now, you get an idea of what happened.  I made it all the way around, setup my scope and then suddenly the shorebirds were up and away.  Swearing, I looked up and saw a Peregrine Falcon flying in low.  Shaking my head I hurriedly changed my camera settings to try and document a shot in the poor light.  At least I could comfort myself with a Peregrine photo; the shorebirds by then had gotten into a ball formation heading south, back where I came from.  To add insult to injury, a second Peregrine showed up.  They proceeded to chase each other on the pond.  It was as though they were putting on a show for me making a statement that they rule the East Pond whether I liked it or not.  So yes, Falco peregrinus are punks but before any falcon loving folks get upset, I should add that I love them too, we just have disagreements during shorebird season :)

Oh BTW, I did get my shorebirds but you will have to check back to read more on that in another post! Tags: , , Share with Bookmark and Share

No comments: