A few hours later, I began spending some time studying juvenile Willets in looking at the field marks to separate Western from Eastern. By then the tide had dropped but there was not much flats exposed and I felt if I attempted to cross too early, I would only push off the shorebirds that had begun gathering on the small areas of the flats that were being exposed. Eventually, I headed onto the flats and amidst the alarms of Greater Yellowlegs, I managed to settle in on a spot where I began to sift through the shorebirds.
I was at it for a few hours, checking and rechecking. The flats had opened a lot more providing more areas for birds whose numbers continue to grow. There was not an overwhelming number of birds but there was enough to look at and I was enjoying the peacefulness of it all. I spotted a Semipalmated Sandpiper that was in a plumage that reminded me of a juvenile molting to first winter, which is normally on the wintering grounds outside of the US, so I began to study that bird and grab stills in trying to document the plumage.
By then, some Semipalmated Plovers had begun showing up and I could hear them around me. After the Semipalmated Sandpiper wandered away from decent study views, I turned my attention to the Semipalmated Plovers. I was sorting through them for about an hour when I heard a call that seemed a bit different from the Semipalmated Plover calls. I looked up from my scope and switched to my bins expanding my search area while thinking about the call. It was softer than a Semipalated Plover but sounded Plover like. I started to mull it over about Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula) calls, but then dismissed it and instead focused on checking the birds.
|One of the early looks at the Common Ringed Plover. As you might detect, the light was not that good.|
|Common Ringed Plover in the foreground with Semipalmated Plovers in the background.|
Charadrius hiaticula) . I learned that Shai's phone was dead and so I sent the photo to Pat. Subsequently, I texted Gail Benson a photo of the bird and called Tom Burke. I then went back to monitoring and studying the bird with the nearby Semipalmated Plovers. Pat, called back a few minutes later and responded that the photo of the bird looked good. Alas, while I was taking her call, 3 knucklehead clamers who ignored my frantic efforts to keep them away from the flock, put everything up and I was unable to relocate the bird. By then much of the flats were exposed, so the bird had plenty of habitat to retreat to, including nearby mudflats that were inaccessible to us.
|Inner and middle toe shot, crucial in determining webbing. No webbing supports Common Ringed Plover.|
|Common Ringed Plover at Cupsogue LI.|
|Common Ringed Plover background with Semipalmated Plover in the foreground.|
|Common Ringed Plover at Cupsogue LI, NY.|
Tags: Common Ringed Plover, Long Island New York, Cupsogue