Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Coastal Adventure

     It's been a while since I have posted. A lot has been going on... I did some last minute training and ran the Brooklyn Half Marathon on May 16th- then I had a lot of busy work days, experienced much exhaustion, worked over this weekend and had today off.
     With some fellow birders, I headed out to Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and hit Plumb Beach on the return to home. Good birds were seen and other critters entertained us as well.
    Enjoy the sights:

Jamaica Bay, one of the few places you are always guaranteed to see perching swallows. Swallows are wing birds that swoop, dive, and maneuver with ease on the wing- but rarely are still. Tree swallows like this take up residence in the many nest boxes throughout the property along the West Pond.
A Northern rough-winged swallow poses for a photo op next to the silky creation made by tent caterpillars.
Northern rough-wing swallow on the same branch as a tree swallow. You can tell them apart easily just by the color alone.
One of the resident tree swallows.
A ruddy turnstone with a peep.
Peeps-- we were thinking sanderling-- but now I'm thinking maybe they are semipalmated sandpipers? Shore birds make me nuts.
This might honestly be my favorite part of the day-- finding this guy having a sun drenched nap...

And there's a prize inside!
A spring azure-- I'm happy to see butterflies back in the neighborhood!
Onto Plumb Beach where horseshoe crabs were performing an ancient egg laying ritual on our sandy beaches.Their egg laying provides not only new life for these arthropods, but also for migrating birds-- so they can complete their journey North and create their next generation.
A Franklin's Gull has been reported at Plumb, but it looks very very similar to laughing gulls. Oh and it was cold, so my patience in finding it was worn thin. One of our friends stayed behind, and of course found it, which I am so happy he did. But here are some of the many laughing gulls we saw... 
A peregrine stirred up the crowd a bit, it was cool to see him/her maneuver through the flock. Didn't get any reward of it, though.
Brant, skimmers, and gulls settle down after a mild scare from the falcon.
I really love skimmers and their asymmetrical bills.
Seeing the skimmers was enough of a reward, despite missing the Franklin's Gull.