Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Arctic Tern at Nickerson Beach LI, NY

This was a long overdue Nassau County bird and fitting that I found my own at Nickerson Beach LI, NY. On June 7th, I was scanning a group of Common Terns when I detected an Arctic Tern (ARTE). Having seen a 1st Summer Arctic Tern at Cupsogue LI on June 2nd, it was nice to get an adult for my 1st Nassau County ARTE. The Tern colonies at Nickerson Beach, makes for a nice study if they are not disturbed. I managed a few photos before this bird was subsequently flushed by a jogger and I could not re-find it again during my time there.
Arctic Tern: A new Nassua County bird and an adult at that.

Some photos are posted for studying purposes. In these photos, we have standing birds - mostly Common Terns with the 1 Arctic. A couple of things to look for are: Note the deep chested look of the Arctic vs the Common Tern. Also the head shape of the ARTE is more rounded with the peak just above the eye. The Arctic Tern, lacks the dark primary wedges one would see in a Common. The legs are quite shorter on an Arctic but be wary of depressions in the ground that could make a bird look like it has shorter legs than it really has. There are other field marks that I will get into in another post which will include flight shots. For now, these are just a few handy tips that I am sharing to use in your search.

Arctic Tern, looking regal amongst the Common Terns.

Using the tips I provided you should by now have figured out which one was the Arctic Tern.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Breezy Point Banded Piping Plover Cowboy Successfully Nested

Cowboy with one of her chicks
In April of this year, I observed a banded Piping Plover at Breezy Point in Queens NY, which I found out was banded in 2016 at the E.B. Forsythe NWR in New Jersey. Nicknamed Cowboy, this female PIPL, decided she would set up shop in Queens - at least that is what I hoped for. After subsequent visits did not show her with a mate, I thought she would not breed this year.

3 Piping Plover Chicks
I was therefore quite delighted on Sunday June 18th to discover that Cowboy had kept her relationship hidden and had indeed found a mate, successfully nested and was now the proud mother of 3 baby Piping Plover chicks. Since Piping Plovers tend to lay 4 eggs, there is a good chance I might have missed the 4th chick? Cowboy looked quite comfortable in her motherly role and I observed how protective she and her mate got when a Red-winged Blackbird got too close to their chicks. These tiny fluff balls will have a tough time dealing with all the dangers of the beach but with a lot of luck and good parenting, they will make it and some day have a family of their own.

Male Piping Plover- Cowboy's mate

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Banded Great-black Backed Gull

On June 15th, 2017, I observed and documented a 1CY (calendar year) banded Great Black-backed Gull at Nickerson Beach on Long Island NY. Research on the banding data via the Bird Banding Lab for color band code 7EH revealed that the bird was banded as a chick at Near Kittery in York County Maine USA on 6-24-16.  Photos of the bird are included below.

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