Sunday, October 4, 2015

3 Oct 2015 - Sandy Point

Yesterday I sneaked a late afternoon walk out a raw, windy, dreary Sandy Point in West Haven, CT. Not expecting much honestly, I was surprised to kick up several sparrows as I began walking out the base of the point. Among them was a nice-looking NELSON'S SPARROW. Getting the sparrows to tee up for more than a few seconds was a challenge, as they were driven into the vegetation by the strong winds.

Nelson's Sparrow

Further out towards the point a MERLIN strafed a flock of about 20 HORNED LARKS, among which were two LAPLAND LONGSPURS. The birds were surprisingly approachable once they landed, preferring to hunker down rather than take flight. I was about to photograph the longspurs when I ran into Tony Amato, who reported seeing BAIRD'S and WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS at the tip of the point. So I abandoned the grassland birds in favor of the shorebirds. We refound the sandpipers without much difficulty. The shorebird flock consisted of about 35 Sandering, 2 Least Sandpipers, 2 Semipalmated Sandpipers, a White-rumped and a Baird's. Not bad diversity there! Both the White-rump and the Baird's were juveniles and were also quite approachable. Nearly all of the Baird's Sandpipers we see in New England are juveniles, from mid-Aug to early Oct. Occasionally a late July adult is seen, but most of the adults migrate down the center of the continent. In contrast, most of the White-rumps I see here during fall migration are adults, so this juvie was great to see. Juvenile 'rumps are late arrivals at our latitude...typically appearing right about now.

juvenile White-rumped Sandpiper

juvenile Baird's Sandpiper

juvenile Baird's Sandpiper

Baird's Sandpiper in flight with Sanderlings

 - NB

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