Monday, March 17, 2014

New Riders Of The Purple Sandpiper


Cheese and crackers! How hard can it be to find a so called ‘common’ bird?  I am embarrassed to say how many times I have targeted this species since January 1, so I will leave it at ‘way too many’.

I had been out yesterday with Garouse in desperate hopes of pinning down the Black-headed Gull out east; dismayed to hear the RBA report listing them as having lingered there during the winter. So much for folks bothering to post sightings. And so much for the bird being any easier than it has been for being found.

I had awoken with a headache, and scanning in the glare of the sun was contra-indicated, but I did so anyway hoping to pick out the Black-headed Gull from within the group of resting Bonaparte’s Gulls on the flats. That the Bonies were there was at least encouraging, as was finding a Lesser Black-backed Gull, but the BHGU was as elusive as ever. More Green-winged Teal had arrived since my last visit, as well as several Pintail. 

We decided to try Mecox, and on the way found this 'uncommon' bird napping with some Mergansers and Ruddy Ducks. Again, last year difficult, this year - everywhere.

Red-necked Grebe
Red-breasted Merganser

We also tried elsewhere, but no luck. Okay, so Black-headed isn’t necessarily a common bird, but jeez, how hard can it be to squeeze out a Black-headed?

Today Jean LeConte Sparrow gave me a call in the morning as I was preparing to go out for the day. We decided to meet up at Point Lookout and give the Sand Purples another go. None visible, but I did get my first Oystercatchers. YB1. The Harlequins were not present either despite the beach rejuvenation having been completed. The missing ducks were upsetting to David LaMagna, who was out trying to get the duck for his friend who would thus get a lifer. 


With neither birds present, I mentioned that the best course of action was to try the numerous jetties at Long Beach. We all met up again there, and by the fourth jetty or so I spotted a Sand Purple at a great distance. We got closer, and finally the pipers submitted to my persistence. Phew! YB2. 

Purple Sandpipers!
David and his friend kept going west, and we don’t know if they ever got their ducks, but I sure hope they did. Jean and I moved on, eventually stopping at Massapequa Preserve. We scouted a bit, hoping to turn up a Woodcock that are being reported everywhere. No luck there, but in keeping with the general theme of birding, we easily located a Screech Owl. It was made all the more enjoyable as the light permitted some photos, we were shown a second bird, and told of a possible third bird as well! To review, I couldn’t find a Screech Owl last year if it were nailed to a coffee table. This year two, the most I had ever seen at once. Go figure. That birding goddess is a mischievous, capricious and fickle one...

Screech Owl 1!

Screech Owl 2!!

1 comment:

Jean said...

Well, clearly the Goddess smiled upon you yesterday, bc after all, three year birds are a charm! : )