The Core Team visited Jones Beach State Park today, which locals will recognize as one of the premiere beaches in New York. Jones Beach is located on the south shore of Long Island, so it fronts the Atlantic Ocean. Our interest was not swimming, but wave watching (could that be called waving?) The ferocious presence of Hurricane Fabian was reported to be stirring up 8-foot waves all along the coast and we wanted to get a look.
The sea was stormy today. I cannot recall seeing waves that big on Long Island. In fact, they took us by surprise in more ways than one. We were sitting on the sand at least 20 feet from the water, distracted by some bird or another, when a wave engulfed us. We scrambled out of the voracious sea quickly, but the damage was done. Our shoes were soaked, our camera was soaked, and my favorite binoculars were soaked. They aren’t even waterproof! Mark my words: never take your eyes off an angry ocean.
At least we spotted some great shorebirds today. There was a wide array of gulls, including what we thought were immature Lesser Black-backed and Little Gull. There were a number of Semipalmated Plover in the area. We were also pleased to spot an immature Piping Plover, which is another life bird for the Core Team. Finally, we saw a multitude of Sanderlings, a bird we haven’t seen since we started birding. Anyone who has been to an North Atlantic Coast beach has probably been amused at the sight of these birds darting back and forth in the wake of a wave. Unlike some people we know, they’re smart enough to run away when a new wave crashes!