Monday, July 9, 2012

Beware the North Muck - Danger!

Like many New York birders, I've seen the maps of Jamaica Bay's East Pond showing the "easy" and "difficult" passage through the mud, and the myriad names of bays, mud-spits and other geographic features.   Dead Man's Cove always sounds so much more interesting than Sanderling Point for some reason, even if it doesn't necessarily get better birds.  If I'm honest, I've also laughed to myself about the the "DANGER!" annotations at several spots around the pond presumably denoting deeper mud.  How deep could it be after all?  While I admit that the "North Muck" has always looked like an area that I didn't really want to get too close to, I figured that the mud depth would change incrementally, allowing a wayward birder plenty of time to reverse course.

Well after last week, when a birder went chest-deep into the North Muck and had to be rescued by Rangers (a rescue apparently taking several hours) before being hosed down in the parking lot, well lets just say I'm following the map very, very carefully from now on.

No worries today though, the East Pond behaved perfectly.  The temperature was pleasant, perhaps 15-degrees cooler than the weekend, with cloud cover and even a pleasant breeze.  I just don't know why folks complain about the place, it was positively lovely this morning.  I also had the place to myself - only once was I yanked off my scope to be interrogated by anxious-looking Ruff hunters - quite a perfect morning of shorebirding in fact.

Pectoral Sandpiper (with Least Sandpiper and Short-billed Dowitcher shadows)
Among the 800-1,000 shorebirds at the North end of the East Pool today I managed to winkle out two New York State year-birds; a Pectoral Sandpiper (#325), and a couple of Stilt Sandpipers (#326).  All birds that had been reported by many folks over the weekend while I was Out East, so nice to do such a comprehensive catch-up on a Monday morning, even if I was 'dowitcher-blind' by the end of the day.

Maybe something other than shorebirds tomorrow .....

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