Monday, August 16, 2021

Birdday Re-do Success!

     All I ever want for my birthday is to look at birds, so I was pretty bummed that on my birthday it was a 100% rainy day. I really hate birding in the rain, I hate wet binoculars, I hate being soggy, just really not into it. So I was pretty bummed to be not birding and was pretty bummed about my birthday.

    So I decided that the following week I'd give myself a birthday re-do, and I did. I got up early yesterday to a cool morning, winds that would keep the bugs at bay, and perhaps move some migrant birds around. The humidity was non-existent. And the sun, there was sun! I headed to the East Pond at Jamaica Bay and was delivered a few of the things I had been hoping to see plus a few great surprises.

     On my birthday I also got myself a Phone Skope and got to play around with it, it's pretty awesome. I love using it. I'd love to try it on a not windy day because the photos were just too shaky, but it took great video! So I'm looking forward to playing around with that more. If you have a scope, it was worth it, it might even replace my camera for shore birding.

One of those nice surprises was a black tern who was working the shoreline close to where myself and a few others were standing.
And then of course, all of a sudden a much bigger bird popped overhead and a young peregrine gave this bird the run-around. I got sub par photo evidence of it, was more happy to see it.

Lots of these, lesser yellowlegs.
I went hoping to see some phalaropes, where basically look like swimming sandpipers. But today the lesser yellow legs were swimming and the phalaropes were wading. So what that means is that I looked at a lot of yellowlegs thinking they could be a phalarope, only to be a swimming lesser yellowlegs.

Was hoping to see some peeps and enjoyed being able to pick out the white-rumped sandpipers from the crowd.
I feel like every shorebird summer, I am second guessing and reacquainting myself and then by end of summer, I feel like a shorebird master... only to fall back the following year. Shorebirds are tough but fun to find and get familiar with the sometimes subtle differences.
For this one, it body is a bir more elongated than the semipalmated and its wing tips go past the tail, sometimes even crossing in an "x," like you see on these two.

Saw some stilt sandpipers the last time I was here and was happy to be able to recognize them as stilt sandpipers. The ebird flags often intimidate me too. These came up as rare and this was just one of a few small groups.

They are pretty, the stilt sandpipers, they look like a wooden carving with that plumage.

There were mostly least sandpipers around. And aren't they just so cute?!

I only saw one of the two phalarope species that had been seen for over the last week, this is the Wilson's.
While it stinks to miss one, the Wilson's Phalarope was walking on the shore where I and other birders were so we got some lovely close looks at it.
Unlike the sandpipers and the yellowlegs that look fairly similar, this bird is shaped like a boat, it has a heavy and deep belly, and like a boat it flats real well, swimming. Often they swim in circles to stir up prey and other edible yummies.

I was so pleased with the birds I got to observe today, the day continued on a fairly positive path. The kiddo took a perfectly timed nap so that we could pack up some beach things and then head to the beach for lunch and the late afternoon.

Here is a video I pieced together with my new Phone Skope on my (fairly) new Vortex Viper Spotting Scope along with an iPhone 12Max Pro. Pretty pleased with the results, despite the wind! Following birds by scope is definitely tough!

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