Saturday, July 7, 2012

More Cupsogue / Dune Road Shorebirds

Spent the last two mornings on the rising tide at Cupsogue Flats hoping for a few new shorebirds.  I seem to be in a bit of a year-bird slump with others having seen five or six species recently that would have been year birds for me.  By far the best thing I missed was the Brown Booby that Derek Rogers and Ari Gilbert had at Cupsogue on Thursday, a truly great find.  While I wasn't expecting that bird to put on a repeat performance,  there have been a few shorebirds around that I wanted to catch up on.

Cupsogue is slowly changing as fall migration gets underway with subtle changes in the mix of birds from week to week.  The dominant shorebird now is Short-billed Dowitcher, including a couple of nice red-breasted "Prairie Race" type birds.  Tried hard to winkled out a Long-billed Dowitcher, but no luck so far.

Short-billed Dowitcher
Other have included an increasing number of migrant Least Sandpipers, the odd "Western Willet" and a good mix of terns, which today included 5 Black Terns in various plumages.

Least Sandpiper
Back along Dune Road I picked up Yellow-crowned Night Heron and an American Bittern (my second recently, but an unseasonal record down here on the coast, presumably an early migrant).  Best bird so far this weekend though was a WHIMBREL at Ponquogue (NYS year-bird #324).  Never a predictable bird here and a good one to get out of the way.

American Bittern
Whimbrel (sometimes you have to just grab a shot to prove that you saw it)

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