New England Coastal BIrds

New England Coastal BIrds

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

September and October Highlights 3- "Looking for a Late Western"-

     September 19, continues......Milford Point-  "Longer Bills and Silver Bracelets"- After leaving the Marina, I crossed the Housatonic River and drove down to Milford Point. I had contacted Charlie Barnard yesterday to ask him if there were any Shorebirds still hanging around on the bars. Charlie told me that there was still a few small groups of "peeps"
there. Since there were still a few Semi-palmated Sandpipers on the bar, there would be a very small chance that a late Western would be with them in the remaining group. I know this is reaching a bit, but at least one Western has been reported in each of the coastal New England states as of maybe CT would be included?!

     When I walked out onto the beach, I spotted this flock of mixed peeps flying along the shore. >

     They flew down the beach, turned around and landed just up the beach from me. The flock was made up with mostly Least and Semi-palmated Sandpipers. >

      I looked these birds over, but no longer and slightly curved bills could I find >

     Another small group lands behind me on the shoreline. >

      I was looking through the flock of mostly Semi-palmated and I noticed a banded bird. >

     Then I found another one just to the left. >

      Now I had another quest! Besides looking for a miracle Western, I started looking for banded shorebirds! >

     The Semi-palmated Sandpipers were all well represented with various plumages (left). A Least Sandpiper (right). >

     One of those "longer-billed" Semi-palmated know, the birds that get your adrenaline going when you are searching through huge flocks of peeps! >

      The small groups of peeps kept moving up and down the beach. This made it difficult to search through all of them for bills and bands! >

      This one Semi-palmated was backlit which made it difficult to study. I first noticed that it had a much longer bill. But after a brief study of the bird it was another one of those frustrating "longer-billed" Semi-palmated Sandpipers. >

     But I did find the third banded Semi-palmated Sandpiper. This bird however was sadly limping. >

        A beautiful display of camouflage hiding among the bar cobble >

     The fourth banded Semi-palmated Sandpiper. I had a feeling a banding operation somewhere nearby had occurred recently. >

    The banded Semi-palmated with a Least Sandpiper (right) >

     A classic scenario! While I was watching these peeps, a dark image just appeared below the waves along the shore. A large Horseshoe Crab hauled out of the sea flanked by a small group of Semi-palmated and Lest Sandpipers. >

     The Shorebirds began gathering around the Crab as if they were anxiously awaiting the anticipated deposit. >

    As expected, I didn't find a late Western, but as I do with Waterfowl and Gulls, I enjoyed looking for banded birds. Four band Shorebirds are the most I have found at one time. As I approached the observation platform, this male Harrier dropped down to the ground for most likely a Vole. >

      It looks to me like the Harrier was unsuccessful as it flew off to the point. >

      My last stop on my way home was at Sandy Point at West Haven. As I walked out on the "high side" bar, this Kingfisher was fishing in the lagoon. >

     By now the incoming tide half covered the sandbar. At the end of the high bar, a small clump of boulders offered a good roosting spot for three Shorebirds. These were the only three I saw on the bar: a juvenile Spotted Sandpiper.......

       .....and a pair of Ruddy Turnstone. >

      The Sandpiper eventually flew off into the lagoon......

      .....but the pair of Turnstones remained. >

     I sat down on one of the more comfortable boulders and started taking these images. The light was perfect and the blue sky  gave the water a brilliant Cerulean highlight for the background. The pair of birds were very accommodating and at times walked up to within a few yards of me. Enjoy the portraits! >

    September and October Highlights 4 - "A Few Lingering Fall and the First Arriving Winter Shorebirds" continues-
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