With an eye to the sky and a wish in my heart, Christopher (who had driven down from MA the night before) and I left for the Jamaica Bay outing in the predawn rain. The closer we got to Queens the brighter the sky became until we arrived to meet Corey and Carrie in the wan light of a muggy August day. I knew that some folks had canceled due to the forecast so I was pleasantly surprised to find more and more bloggers arriving until we were a group 10 strong. Corey from 10000 Birds, Carrie from Great Auk or Greatest Auk, Scott from Peace, Caffeine, Linux, Laura from Somewhere in New Jersey, Jay of from BirdJam, Catherine from Birdspot, Cindy from Living in Brooklyn, Longing for Maine, and Anne Marie long-time birding buddy and iheatwarblers on Twitter. (In fact most of these folks are on Twitter.)
We started on the north end of the East pond, where there had been reports of 3 Wilson’s Phalaropes, as well as the fabled American Golden Plover (a would-be life bird – that, alas, I still have not seen.) Corey led the charge and sure enough the Phalaropes were swimming in circles just as reported. The hushed word of a Sora was soon passed from one birding group to another and we hustled over to ooh and ahh over it picking along the reedbed. Lovely. But not as good of a view as the one I had in Texas.
As we sloshed along through the water, mud and muck…can I pause here to say a word about the scary, slimy, black, boot-sucking mud? I should have realized when a shouted “This is the worst of it.” came floating back that I was in for trouble. As I crossed the mud, my Neos started to sink and stick to the mud like they were glued, until I ended up tottering on one leg like a Flamingo with my barefoot cringing away from the ooze. With a grimace I slid my barefoot into the slurry. I stood like ‘my son Jon, with one shoe off and one shoe on,’ tugging, with both hands mind you, at my boot adhered to the mud. Thank goodness no one has a photo of that! No, I did not have to leave it there, but it was touch and go, seriously. Whew, I have to tell you, in full disclosure, that when you go to Jamiaca Bay, boots are a must and maybe going right after a rain is not such a good idea.
As we progressed around the pond the shorebirds scattered before us to return to feeding in our wake.
There were peeps galore with the Semipalmated and Black-bellied Plovers, Willets, Dowitchers, a few Red Knots and Ruddy Turnstones. The Avocet was exactly where it was suppose to be. There were lots of Tern, Gulls and a Peregrine even put on a show.
Highlights for the day were the temerity of the Least Sandpipers, the poise of the Avocet, the verve of the Peregrine Falcon, the warmth of friends and…Catherine birding in a dress.
Check out other accounts of the day from:
Catherine is doing shorebird week.