New England Coastal BIrds

New England Coastal BIrds

Saturday, September 15, 2012

(Part 1) Low Tide Dowitchers, and (Part 2) Shorebirding and a Visiting White Ibis

    September 6, 2012- 4) "Low Tide Dowitchers"- An overnight Rhode Island Canyon Pelagic trip was planned for Sept 6 and 7 by Carlos Pedro. Everyone was really anxious to go until Tropical Storm Leslie passed just south of Bermuda. Although the storm would not be coming north to New England, it left a large storm surge behind in the form of 9 foot seas! Although light to moderate winds were forcasted for the trip, heading a hundred miles out into the ocean in the dark with nine foot seas was not sensible., let alone two days of it. The trip was unfortunately cancelled. Too bad really, with the storm moving up from the South with southeasterly winds, who knows what Tropical pelagic rarity would have been waiting for us!?

     In preparation for the summer canyon pelagic, I carved a few more decoys to add to the other summer canyon species I had already carved. It would have been fun deploying the decoys off the stern of the Lady Frances in the chum slick!

     The birds I had originally carved were a Pomarine Jaeger, Greater Shearwater, and a Sabine's Gull. My new decoys were a Wilson's Storm-Petrel-

     White-faced Storm-Petrel-

     Audubon's Shearwater-

     And a Bridled Tern standing on a buoy wrapped in floating Sargassum Weed-

     Since the trip was cancelled and I was waiting for oil paint to dry on a decoy, why not go Shorebirding?
It was low tide that morning, and I had been wanting to try and photograph the Long-billed Dowitcher feeding, so I drove down to Bond's Cove in Stratford. While I was watching the feeding Shorebirds from the Broad Street Bridge, I heard a friendly voice say "Good Morning Keith". It was Frank Mantlik stopping by on his morning rounds. He also had reserved his spot on the Rhode Island pelagic that was cancelled. But Frank was fortunate to be on board the record breaking BBC overnight Canyon Pelagic in August ( I had to drop out of because of a last minute re-scheduling conflict) which tallied two Baralo's Shearwaters, a Red-billed Tropicbird and numerous Band-rumped and White-faced Storm-Petrels-WOW!!

    After Frank took off on his rounds, the tide falling tide exposed more of the mud flats and the Shorebird numbers built. The Long-billed Dowitcher was still there (right) with a Short-billed Dowitcher (left)-




     Long-billed (top) and Short-billed (bottom)-

      With Greater Yellowlegs-

   There were many Yellow-crowned Night-Herons in the Cove that day, and they would often startle the Shorebirds as they glided low over the mud flat into the Cove.-

     Long-billed Dowitcher with a small flock of Short-billed Dowitchers-

      Good comparative studies of flying Long-billed and Short-billed Dowitchers. The Long-billed is in the middle-


       Second from left-


     Greater Yellowlegs. There were many in the Cove that morning-

     Yellow-crowned Night-Herons were plentiful as well-

       As I always do on my way home from Stratford and Milford, I stopped at Sandy Point to see (if any) Shorebirds were there......and there weren't many!

     But along the edges of the parking lot by the path to the high sandbar, Warblers were hopping through the trees and bushes such as these Wilson's Warblers (Warblers and Passerines are not my bird groups of interest- if I a misidentified these Warblers, please let me know)!-

     A Great Blue Heron joined the Egret group in the Cove on the north side of the sandbar-

     A good comparative shot of a Great and a Snowy Egret-

      I walked all the way out to the end of the sandbar, and there were only a few Shorebirds. There was a Laughing Gull roost which contained about 40 birds. It was located on the south side of the low stones and pilings connecting the sandbar to the breakwater.

     Ruddy Turnstone, and with a Black-bellied Plover-

     Black-bellied Plovers-

   The same Oystecatcher pair with the fledgling with the growth on its forehead-

     Arriving at the outer sand bar, the only Shorebirds present were a flock of 50+ Sanderling-

     On the walk back, this Great Blue Heron flew by-

     The Black-bellied Plovers were moving around-

     This flock had two Ruddy Turnstones and a single Short-billed Dowitcher in it-

     Great Blue Heron-

     Back by the parking lot, Common Yellowthroat and Yellow Warblers hopped through the trees and bushes-

(Part 2) Shorebirding and the Visiting White Ibis

    Sept 6, late morning- 5) "Shorebirding and the Visiting White Ibis"-  After leaving Sandy Point I made a few stops; Long Wharf and East Shore Park. Other than a few Yellow Warblers along the hedgerow in the Park, I started for home. When I was in Branford on 95 about to exit at Stony Creek, the alert came over my Blackberry that John Oshlick had just found (and lost sight of) an immature White Ibis in the head of the Lagoon at Sandy Point! I was just there an hour ago!

     When I pulled into the perking lot at Sandy Point, I noticed a small gathering of Egrets by the creek gates by Beach St. I saw John coming out of the path heading towards this area, so I figured I was in the right spot. As soon as he and his friend (sorry, I didn't get your name) walked up they were joined by Sara Zagorski. He spotted the bird mixed in with the Egrets that were standing right in front of us. Tina Green and Frank Mantlik came just as the bird was spotted. The bird stalked Fiddlers on the north side of the creek...

 then flew across the creek and joined the Egret gathering.....

     After fifteen minutes, the Ibis and took off and flew over Beach Street and settled in on the Egret roost along the creek. The bird flew off the perch into the small marsh. It was located later after I left. Good find John!

     Although this was a wonderful bird that John found in CT., I am still disappointed that the Rhode Island overnight Pelagic trip was cancelled!

Part 6)- "Avocet in Stratford" and Part 7)- "Windy Day- Laughing Gulls, Solitary and Pectoral Sandpipers"

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