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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Sandra Keller

September 12, 2010

"The annual "follow the tides" shorebird trip to Stone Harbor - Nummy's Island had above normal water levels, so the mud flats were not exposed even by 2 hours before low tide. Alas, we didn't have a study of shorebirds feeding except for SANDERLINGS along the ocean beaches. We did have many species in roosting flocks which is what the shorebirds will do when not feeding. For example, 18 "western" WILLETS were sleeping in a tight flock in the salt pans along Nummy's Island. 20 or so GREATER YELLOWLEGS were roosting at the Wetlands Institute. 10 RUDDY TURNSTONES were roosting together on the jetty at Stone Harbor Point. Running this trip in September did give us a mix of adults and crisp, neat looking juvenile birds which was a good study. 2 PIPING PLOVERS were feeding on the beach at 45th St. or so in Avalon. We were hoping for Red Knots and Godwits feeding on the exposed sandbar at the north end of Nummy's Island, but decided not to wait for dead low tide which is what it would have taken today with the high water levels. Other highlights were all the TRICOLORED HERONS around. And the YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS outnumbering the BLACK-CROWNED at the roost on Nummy's Island.

A VEERY perched on a fence post along the dunes in Avalon. A BAY-BREASTED WARBLER at eye-level and close was a complete surprise! PALM WARBLERS were around. A nice surprise was finding a flock of between 5,000 and 10,000 TREE SWALLOWS swirling low above the Bayberry shrubs in Avalon. The main concentration was around the 32nd St dunes. What a treat to have them 5 ft. above our heads and then swooping down to feed in huge groups on those berries. They would strip a bush in no time!

If any questions or for a more complete bird list, please email Sandra Keller. Next year's trip will start at dead low tide so we can experience more birds feeding."

Photos by Joe Delesantro