First things first, Desi needed a car seat and since my kids are well beyond the rear facing car seat stages of their lives, we had to pick one up at the Saugerties McDonald’s on our way down to the City. (I bet you’ve never ordered 1, #10, 1#9 and a car seat to go please). Small detour aside everything was going so well, until we hit the Tappan Zee Bridge. Apparently there was an accident earlier in the day on it, but traffic was still backed up for miles before the bridge. It took over an hour to get passed the bridge.
No big deal, we had a bit of extra time anyway. Then we hit the Major Deegan and boom stand still. Took another hour to inch our way past the George Washington Bridge to the Triboro and 5 hours after we left Albany, we picked up Corey and headed to Jamaica Bay.
I had never visited Jamaica Bay so early in the season, most of my visits were either in September or May, but one nemesis bird I’ve missed on my several visits there (and the Corey loves to photograph and brag about) was Wilson’s Phalarope. Corey had recently had success finding them on the south end of the East Pond, so that is where we headed first.
Being from Upstate New York, Danika and I don’t get to see a lot of coastal birds. So we had a hard time keeping up because we wanted to look at the Laughing Gulls flying over in their breeding plumage, something we don’t get to see, well ever. Glossy Ibis are neat-o to us! Yellow-Crowned Nightheron, that’s worth a scope look. To Corey these are junk birds. He has no idea how spoiled he has become.
But quickly both Corey and I got on two separate Black Terns hawking over the water. Many other shorebirds were present including many (and I mean many) Semipalmated Sandpipers, a few Least Sandpipers, both Yellowlegs, Short-billed Dowitcher (another bird we don’t see upstate much) and Semipalmated Plovers. A lone Killdeer was seen as well. Also present were many Glossy Ibis, Snowy and Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons and both Nightherons.
Scoping further north, we found the American White Pelican which had been recently hanging out around the refuge. A new state bird for both me and Danika.
We worked our way up along the side, scanning the Yellowlegs for the Phalarope and checking out the various peeps, especially some nicely plumaged Immature Least Sandpipers which had just arrived.
After striking out on what we were looking for, Corey suggested we head up to the north end and see whats up there. We headed back to car, for the short drive to the north end. While Danika was using the rest room, Corey saw a birder he knew coming from the west pond, after a short conversation, Corey returned to the car and said “Grab your gear, we are heading to the west pond, there be Marwits!” (its best if you say that last sentence like a pirate, makes a neat effect). But I’ll let Corey finish the tale at 10,000 Birds….