Sunday, May 19, 2013

Lister's Dream, Leader's Nightmare or, the Dog Ate My Curlew Sandpiper

 [Dowitchers at Heislerville, NJ today. Which kind? See post below. Click to enlarge photos.]

I herewith apologize for the fact that I don't got no fancy pictures of rare shorebirds for ya, and furthermore only went two for three at Heislerville, NJ on the trifecta of Curlew Sandpiper, Wilson's Phalarope and Red-necked Phalarope that dwell there currently. It was a lister's dream, these rarities awaiting, but as a leader I hate, hate, HATE  the pressure of rare birds and participants maybe expecting me to find them. Isn't it enought that we've got maybe 20,000 or more shorebirds swirling and calling in front of us, a blizzard of avian delights? Who cares if one of them is brick red with a droopy bill?

Happily, our field trip participants today didn't seem to mind that while we "got" the phalaropes we "didn't get" the Curlew Sandpiper. I use but hate that word, "get," or "got," in reference to birds, though it's not as dirty as the other word we have corrupted  when referring to birds, "had." As in: "I had the Red-necked Phalarope." Really? How was it. . . ?

I digress.

Yeah, so Heislerville was pretty great tonight, waves of birds splitting around us to the sound of rushing wings, and yeah, despite the grumbling and excuses above I'll be back there the next couple nights looking for the Curlew Sandpiper I just now got the text message about, which means I left too early and I'm blaming the dog, he needs his walk, a convenient excuse for what really happened: I plumb got tired of sifting shorebirds for the odd one out after a mere three hours.

We saw multiple White-rumped Sandpipers today, a species that increases in numbers as May progresses, and I'll have a post about discerning White-rumpeds from the crowds of other shorebirds ready for next Friday's "Fri-D."

 [Shorebirds fly in rivers during May, here Dunlin and who knows what else at Forsythe NWR, NJ mid-week.]

[A peacefull moment with Whimbrel on the salt marshes of Forsythe NWR this week. I love this species, and the salt marsh it inhabits when migrating to and from the Arctic.]

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