Date: 8/31/17 8:57 pm From: Mark McShane <mcshanebirder...> Subject: [GABO-L] LONG-TAILED JAEGER, Caspian and Black Terns - Long Point Park, Lake Hartwell - 8/31/2017
It's getting pretty late, and sorry for the late report (have been tied up with work this evening as well) but want to get the word out. This evening I really wanted to get to a North Georgia Inland Big Water site to check what might be found around a large lake with all of the stormy weather coming through recently. I couldn't make it to Gwinnett County at Lake Lanier in time since I was in Athens. So I called Jim Hanna to see if he wanted to run up to Lake Hartwell pretty quick. We didn't have a lot of time so thought it best to head straight out to the end of Long Point Park, formerly a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Recreation Area (RA) on the lake, but now a Hart County park.
Very quickly in the scope I found a CASPIAN TERN, a BLACK TERN, and a young very light LONG-TAILED JAEGER. The jaeger was on the water, in Georgia waters and not going anywhere the entire time, never even stretched its wings and we actually had to leave it there when the light got pretty dim. I estimate that it was maybe 400-800 yards out from the tip of Long Point Park at about this location:
Decimal Degrees (WGS84) coordinates 34.372166,-82.847883
GPS coordinates N 34 22.330 W 82 50.873
It was closer to the tip of Long Point than to the end of the Elrod Ferry RA peninsula. Scope required unless the bird comes much closer to your vantage point.
I feel that, while the bird may get up pretty early, if you can get out to the tip of Long Point while it's still dark in the morning (I think that's possible), and look out somewhere between the west end of the dam and the tip of the Elrod Ferry RA peninsula you just may see the bird still on the water there in the same area as it gets light, of course it may have been wind drifted around a bit through the night. Maybe it will hang around the main body of the lake there tomorrow or for some time to come!
I am not sure I can get the best footage that I have added to the eBird checklist tonight, but will add something shortly, here's the checklist:
In the 75x by 82mm Nikon ED scope with the naked eye we enjoyed great looks. As always though, trying to capture a bird that distant just as the naked eye sees it through the optics is about impossible through the bit of magnified heat shimmer, and sometimes with a max digital phone zoom on top of that, all while aligning a moving smartphone in fading late evening light, but there'll be some better usable footage. Oh, the challenges.
More details on the bird and better footage later in the updated eBird checklist.