Jamaica Bay Shorebird Festival, August 14, 2010

On Saturday, I went to JBWR for the 5th annual Shorebird Festival. There were around 100 people in attendance for the walks and talks, but the organizers provided eight guides, so people were able to break off into smaller groups to go shorebirding.

The shorebirding was pretty good that day, although certain factors did affect the number of species seen that day. Obviously, the large group size must have had some effect on the birds – it’s not every day that 150 birders (counting non-festival attendees) stomp around JBWR’s East Pond. There were also three Peregrine Falcons making constant attempts on the shorebirds, some incredibly close to me, and this probably kept the birds on edge and may have chased some clear out of the area.

I didn’t bring a tarp or waders to lay down in the mud, but I still took some photos, including of my two lifers that day. Here are some photos:

This Am. White Pelican was hanging around the East Pond. Unlike the other reported AWPE this summer, this individual looked perfectly physically healthy. Who knows how he got lost down in Queens, but it was nice to see an easy rarity.
Here's one of the Peregrine Falcons who spent the morning terrorizing shorebirds. One of the PEFA passed me within 50 feet on a couple of attempts, and the closest attempt involved a Semi-palmated Sandpiper diving into the water to evade him. It was pretty thrilling to watch, but he never scored a kill while I was watching.
The Am. White Pelican passing by two other large white birds that don't belong on Long Island.
Being a Shorebird Festival, I had a hard time finding anybody interested in an interesting Canada Goose. The middle guy here is obviously much smaller than his two companions, and with his adult plumage, I think he may be a good candidate for parvipes subspecies. Now that I look at the other two CAGO, I wonder if they are two different subspecies as well... Any takers?
My lifer Stilt Sandpiper front and center
My lifer White-rumped Sandpiper
The Semi-palmated Sandpiper at left really caught my eye - check out that plumage!
Here are a Short-billed Dowitcher and a Lesser Yellowlegs, side-by-side.

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