[CT Birds] LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER- Sandy Point (and many Shorebirds) Keith Mueller

kmueller at ntplx.net kmueller at ntplx.net
Wed May 23 15:07:06 EDT 2012

Spent most of the day Shorebirding (from 8:o0 am to 10:30 am) Milford  
Point- dead low tide, and 11:15 pm to 1:30 pm at Sandy Point New  
Haven. Highlights:

Milford Point- 7 PIPING PLOVER (2 sitting on nests in enclosures- 5  
different individuals on the beach and the mudflats. On the low tide  
flats (steamer clam flats of Pompey's Bar at the the low stones)- 24+  
Short-billed Dowitcher, 5 Oystercatcher, plenty of Dunlin, Least and  
Semi-palmated Sandpipers, Sanderlings, Semi-palmated and Black-bellied  
Plover, Ruddy Turnstone and 1 RED KNOT. Many flocks flying up the  
River never stopping on the sandbars and flats. The flats were covered  
with mating Horseshoe Crabs and I photographed 7 with USFW tags.

Sandy Point, (I walked out on the low bar (with the buried pipe).  
There were Shorebirds everywhere: in the marsh, along the sandbar and  
flying up and down the Harbor. There were two birders on the high sand  
bar watching the nesting Plovers and Terns in the fenced -off area  
from a distance with binoculars. They commented that many of the young  
PIPING PLOVERS were walking around inside the fenced area. I only  
recorded birds from the low bar as I missed the tide by half an hour  
to cross over the inlet. BUt the highlights on the low bar: many  
Common and Least Terns, over 500 Shorebirds including Least and  
Semi-palmated Sandpipers, Semi-palmated and BLack-bellied Plover,  
Ruddy Turnstones, handfuls of Spotted Sandpipers in the grassy field  
along the path from the parking lot. Willets, and over 100  
Short-billed Dowitchers which included 1 LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER and 1  
RED KNOT in one of the flocks at the end of the low sandbar. The bird  
was still in change-over plumage. I first spotted the bird in my  
binoculars in the flock on a small sandy island across a small  
incoming tidal wash formed by the incoming tide. I wasn't able to get  
close enough for closer images. I was able to take a few comparative  
long shots next to the surrounding Short-billed. The bird was larger,  
and standing in a steep upright sleeping stance (compared to the  
slightly smaller Short-billed which displayed the usual nearly level  
sleeping stance. The eye was located centrally in its head, and the  
base of the bill was not flared and was narrow. The bird still  
remained when I left, but with the incoming tide it could be anywhere  
(if it is still on the sandbar). On the way out I walked along a  
raccoon trail in the marsh and walked up on 2 CLAPPER RAIL and was  
able to take a few decent shots. Several Marsh Wrens as well.

I will have the images posted on my blog in a few days.

Keith Mueller

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