Monthly Archives: July 2009

Wading with Shorebirds at Jamaica Bay

East pond

C’mon, let’s take a walk.  Wait, did you go get your permit? Yes?  Ok then.

In a few weeks, there will be a bloggy meet-up at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens, NY.  You are coming, aren’t you?  It is one of the most amazing places to see at most times of the year, BUT, my friends, there is nothing like the shorebird migration.  I was there in August last year and the birds were literally at our feet.  We walked around East Pond and then hopped over to walk around the West Pond and through the woods.


Not only is it great for shorebird viewing, but the opportunity for photos is outstanding.  AND not to dangle the carrot too close to your face, there have been several rarities there in recent weeks.


Hyped up to go now?  Here is who’s going as far as I know. There are a a few others nibbling the carrot too. (Which is sort of like drinking the Kool-Aid, but not really.)

Anne Marie from iheartwarblers

Dendroica from A DC Birding Blog

Carrie from Great Auk or Greatest Auk?

Matt Bango, driving force behind

Christopher from Picus Blog

Jay the driving force behind BirdJam

Stella, President of Huntington Audubon

Laura from Somewhere in NJ

Patrick from Hawk Owl’s Nest

Corey from 10000 Birds

Catherine from Birdspot

Cindy from Longing for Maine

Scott from Peace, Caffeine, Linux

Birdingbev from Behind The Bins.




Filed under Local schmocal

Birding the Long Trail

bald eagle

The sun was beating down mercilessly as I trudged down a particularly open part of the Appalachian Trail.  I would not call what I was doing hiking, frankly, it was more of an amble.  Sweat trickled down my my cheek.  Stopping to pull off my hat and mop my brow, I saw a through-hiker staggering under the weight of an enormous pack coming around the bend in the path.  As he approached, he slowed to pass the a few words of cheerful greeting.  He asked about water and shade.  I was thankfully able to reassure him that shade was close by and I had just dropped off 2 gallons of water by the kiosk.  The relief spread over his face.  His parting comment tossed over his shoulder was, “I’ve been seeing lots of birds.”  I shouted at his back, “Good for You!”

“I wish I was,” I muttered as I turned and pushed on.

Birding had been light at best. Yes, it was the doldrums of the day in the dead of summer, but still I had expected more than I was seeing.  As I made the turn around a pond, I looked up to see a kettle of swirling vultures.  Watching them I saw a flash of white.  In hawk-watching terms, these birds were bigger than pepper specks, maybe even large grained pepper, but you needed bins to see them.

There!  Another flash as the bird banked.  Hot diggity.  White at tail AND head.  There was a Bald Eagle slumming with the boys in the hood.  I stood there in the blazing heat losing him in the pale sky and haze; then catching sight again as the sun reflected off the white.

A group of 3 fully-loaded hikers and a dog strode toward me.  They stopped when they saw me standing in the middle of the path craning upward.

I looked over grinning.  “Ever seen an Eagle?”

None of them had.  They shrugged out of their packs and we stood sharing my bins watching majesty in the sky.  They were thrilled.  Heck, I was thrilled.  Watching eagles never gets old.  And sharing with nature-loving strangers is the best.


Filed under Local schmocal

What’s the deal-ee-o?

“Why are we stopping?”

I shrugged, “I dunna know.”

I pulled the car over onto the grass behind the others.  Diane, Catherine and Christopher peered through the tinted windows at the marsh.  Frowning, I stared out the driver’s side window at the house across the street.  There was a young person lying on a love seat behind a firepit apparently sleeping in the blazing afternoon sun. Caught up in the human drama out my window: Was she drunk? Was that a dog with her? She was definitely going to be burnt to a crisp in this sun; I was brought out of my reverie when car doors started to slam.  As the cry of “Yellow-crowned Night-heron” filtered down the line of cars; birders hopped out and started rifling around in the back of cars for scopes, bins and cameras.

Birders with bins

I was surprised to look across the marsh to see the Night-Heron not tucked into the weeds and grasses with only it’s head showing, but standing out in the open. I had only seen this once before at a park in New Orleans.  Like the NOLA bird, this one was hunting for a little morsel of something.   As we watched, it darted down and came back up gulping.

YC Nightheron

One of my favorite YCNH fun facts. They eat {{shiver}} leeches. Thank goodness something does.

This was but one stop on the Connecticut meet-up.  Huge round of applause for Luke leading (that’s him in the blue sweatshirt) and knowing where to see Night-Herons hanging out snacking on crab.


Filed under Local schmocal

Look out Below!

diving tern


Filed under Travel

Wordless Wednesday

Owl Nest box


Filed under Travel

What’re You Lookin’ At?

Birders on the prowl

Where you goin’?

Birders with scopes

What do ya see?

Rocky beach

I don’t see anything.  Wait. Maybe.

Piping plover

Piping Plovers are tiny shorebirds that look like rocks. Seriously if they weren’t running around all over the place you wouldn’t know they were there.  These are the same birds that close beaches all up and down the eastern seaboard to protect their nests.  They are suffering from habitat loss and their nests are often destroyed by vehicles that can drive on the beach.  They nest above the tide line in a scrape often lined with concealing stones or shells.  There is only something like 7000 in the world.  PP fun fact: part of their courtship display is him stamping his feet.  I’m sorry but that idea is just too cute.

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Filed under Local schmocal

Wordless Wednesday

female blue dasher


Filed under backyard