I dropped in at Crestwood Lake in Westchester during my Saturday morning shopping, both to give Mason a chance to throw rocks in the water and me an opportunity to check out some of the local birds. We all have our hobbies, right? Anyway, I saw little sign of the early wave of passerine migration moving through New York, but that’s probably because I had my eyes on the mud flats that mark this stretch of the Bronx River. Of course, Canada Geese and Mallards appeared, though in their reduced summer numbers. Most of the expected long-legged waders turned up too, including Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, and Green Heron. A couple of Double-crested Cormorants perched dramatically, wings spread wide, on partially sunken logs. Dapper Killdeer were the most obvious shorebird to casual observers, but a closer glance revealed lots of little Least Sandpipers gleaning the muck.
This spot is usually very good for both Solitary and Spotted Sandpiper, but neither appeared for me this time. Instead, my special sightingâ€”one can usually count on one species out of the ordinary on a given outingâ€”was a lone Lesser Yellowlegs, whose extremities seemed rather orange to me. With legs that brilliant, an eye-searing saffron flashing out from the muted grays and browns of its muddy habitat, it’s clear why this bird got its name.