Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Shorebirding at Cupsogue Long Island NY

Juvenile and adult Royal Terns center. Note the bill and leg color of the juvenile.
I am a little late with this post, but better late than never. With the low numbers of shorebirds being reported from various sites last week, I decided to switch sites and do a shorebird survey out on Long Island. The site I chose was Cupsogue, one of my favorite spots not just for the Margaritas after birding but because it is a different scene than Jamaica Bay. Plus, it has different variety of birds and I could also throw in a seawatch.

A good look size comparison. SESA on the left and SAND on the right.
Last Friday morning, I was joined on the flats by Ken and Sue Feustel and together we sifted through the shorebirds. There were ample but not an overwhelming number of birds but from what I saw, I was encouraged that perhaps Jamaica Bay might see some new arrivals (more on that in another post). After several hours, Ken and Sue departed and I stayed enjoying exploring the flats and trying to find as many Piping Plovers as possible. I ended up with 10 PIPL, 3 of which were banded. I also observed and documented a banded Sanderling.

Hudsonian Godwit the larger shorebird. Note the size compared to the SBDO.
I was having a good time studying the common birds and felt the day was a success. It got better as I picked up a couple of unexpected birds towards the end of my stay.  First two Royal Terns showed up (adult and juvenile), then a Whimbrel blew by and last but not least, the best bird of the day was a Hudsonian Godwit, which touched down for a few minutes before lifting off and disappearing. In all, I ended up with 20 species of shorebirds, which I thought was a very good number given the low numbers of shorebirds that were being reported across the state. As you will read in subsequent posts, the numbers did spike at Jamaica Bay, but you will have to check back to read the details of that report.

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