The shorebird time is upon us.  The time of heat and mud and undying stench.  The time of bloodthirsty mosquitoes and ravenous deer flies.  The time of heat shimmer, feather wear, and sweat streaming into eyes.  The time of spotting scope, rubber boots, and odd looks on the bus.  Shorebirds suck.

Which is why I didn’t lug my boots or Mike’s spotting scope (a parting gift to me to remember him by when he moved to Rochester, at least, I think that is what he said…).  I did get odd looks when I got on the bus but that was because I was on a cross street nearly a block from the bus stop when I saw the bus stopped at a red light just in front of said bus stop.   I had to run down the block and across the street in front of the bus before the light turned green in full view of everyone already on the bus.  I didn’t quite make it across the street before the light changed, but did manage to slow the bus down enough that I could beat it to the stop.  Not my most brilliant entrance, but I saved myself twenty minutes wait for the next bus and so was in place in time to see this:

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

And this:

Glossy Ibis War

Glossy Ibis chasing a Glossy Ibis

I did not walk the muddy shore of the East Pond looking for shorebirds.  Well, at least not the northern end, but the south end of the pond was accessible without the need for rubber boots so I took a quick peak and managed to identify Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers, both yellowlegs, and a bunch of Short-billed Dowitchers before they all flushed and flew north, to the muddy end.

What else did I see?  Well, at Big John’s Pond, which should be renamed Big John’s Puddle until we get some rain, I took the picture of the Glossy Ibis above, but ibis were not the only herons.

many herons

two Glossy Ibis, two Snowy Egrets, a Great Egret, and a Green Heron

I actually spent quite a bit of time in the blind at Big John’s Puddle because it kept the sun off, the deer flies seemed not to want to enter, and the bird life was varied and easily watched.  In addition to the heron convention, some peeps, a Greater Yellowlegs, and a Solitary Sandpiper were taking advantage of the low water level to feed and numerous passerines were coming in both for the abundant bugs and for the cooling water.  Gray Catbirds, Northern Mockingbirds, Yellow Warblers, Willow Flycatchers, American Goldfinches, American Robins, Northern Cardinals, Common Yellowthroats, Carolina Wrens, and Mourning Doves all came by the blind.

And though I did not add a single bird to my Anti-Global Warming Big Year list (I’ve been stuck at 201 since June 29) I did enjoy getting out and watching birds, and that was my goal. Mission accomplished!

Canada Goose in flight

fly-by Canada Goose

Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.