Monday, October 6, 2014

Northern Wheatear!

     Reports have been coming in for almost a week now about a Northern wheatear at Plumb Beach, right here in Brooklyn! In having nothing better to do, I figured I'd try my luck. Luck was on my side today in many ways.
     On my bike ride from home to Plumb Beach a car side swiped me, now it was just a year ago, I was finally home from the hospital and on my couch, dizzy and incapacitated from my then bike accident- having this happen was not on my agenda, and while I am VERY MUCH OKAY, it did very much upset me. So after a short cry, a call to my husband, and walking it off, I was back on my bike and very much in need of nature therapy.
     Many people were out looking for this bird, which spends its summer way up in the Arctic and then migrates into Greenland, Europe, and down to Africa! I passed some folks and honestly, at this point after being pretty upset and reflecting on life and how lucky we are to live it, if I found the bird, awesome, if not- no harm, no foul... or fowl.
     I walked the salt marsh on its southern side, since the tide was going out it was an easy walk. When I got to the end, where the marsh meets the beach I saw a bird fly, two flashes of white with black down the middle of the tail. I had to look it up, and then I found this wheatear! He came out of hiding perches on a plank of wood in the sand, it was like his stage, he sat there and allowed me to observe him without the slightest hint of making a run/fly for it. I tried to wave folks down looking at the area it was last seen but they didn't see me. After 15 minutes of observation, I was able to grab those folks and we all observed this little bird together for another 15-20 minutes. What a privilege it was!
     In going to get those nice folks, karma was all like, you know, you almost got hurt today, and now you're helping some folks find this little nugget of a bird, I'm giving you a clapper rail for your life list. And I got to see my first clapper rail!
Walking into the salt marsh portion of Plumb Beach was like being in a story book. You're surrounded by goldenrod, and every step resulted in flutters, many monarchs were stopping to refuel as they continue their migration.
This monarch looks tired and worn, with some wear on those wings.
A song sparrow perches on some goldenrod in the marsh.
A great egret hunts as the tide recedes.
After my initial sighting, he came back out and checked out the weird red-haired creature staring at it through multiple lenses.
I was really impressed by how "calm" this bird remained as I gawked at it and slowly made my way to get a clearer view. 
On the wood plank, like it's a stage... 

For a beige bird, it was still very handsome! 
Not a clear shot, but it gives you a glimpse of the white that flashes when it flies.
He flew onto some goldenrod, and I figured this may have been my cue to lay off, so I went to get those other birders who were seeking out this prize.
Rewarded for my good deed with a lifer- a clapper rail!
Wheatear rewarded me too, and came back out, into clearer range for not just me, but a now gathering audience! 

Out in this portion of the beach, he actually ran and grabbed an insect and consumed it in front of us, which was fun to see! 

Sitting on a horseshoe crab exoskeleton....
Said hello to a greater yellowlegs before departing...
Oh and I saw gulls too-- ring billed.
Juvenile herring gull
A winterized laughing gull.