Date: 5/29/18 5:46 pm From: David Nicosia <daven102468...> Subject: [nysbirds-l] Montezuma Today May 29th, 2018- Red Knot, Red-Necked Phalarope
I had a change of plans and am not going to the NJ coast for shorebirds. So I decided to try Montezuma again for shorebirds and amazingly I had a pretty awesome day. Good weather usually doesn't mean rare birds for me. That was false today!
First stop was Tschache Pool Tower and I could see a fair number of mainly peeps very distant with one larger shorebird. It was very shimmery so I decided to go to Rte 89 and look from there. At this time I was unaware of Dave Kennedy's earlier report of a Red Knot here. So I looked from Rte 89 and saw the grouping of shorebirds but they were too close to the top of the weeds on the dike so I couldn't ID much. Then an eagle flew over and the birds took flight and I got great views of a RED KNOT in breeding plumage with the peeps. The peeps flew around a couple more times and the Knot stayed in with them offering great scope views in flight. Then I went back to the tower as they appeared to be closer than earlier. Maybe I could get a better look. But I was fortunate enough to run into Pete Sar and Jackie Baker who were doing the refuge survey at Tschache. They were gracious enough to let me ride with them and I got much closer views of this great bird. The irony is that is the main specie I go for to see in NJ!
Then after this, I headed over to wildlife drive and there are still 7 REDHEADS main pool, one GREATER YELLOWLEGS Seneca Flats. The Snowy Egret was not present at Eaton at this time. Benning Marsh was fairly quiet too.
Then I hit the north side of the drive and, WOW, a large flock of shorebirds! Most of the birds were SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS. There were also quite a few DUNLIN including one still in basic / non-breeding plumage. I found at least 5 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS but it was hard to keep track of numbers as the birds were flying around from mudflat to mudflat across from the Eagle sculpture. Then, I got on a RED-NECKED PHALAROPE! Jay texted me that there was one on wildlife drive yesterday. So I assumed this was the same one. But looking at photos of yesterday vs today, this one was duller. Not sure if it is a male or a duller female. In any event, another great bird!!
Who needs to go to NJ!! This was a ton of fun and it was great birding with Ann Mitchell and Pat Martin as they joined me at the thruway ponds to see the Phalarope! My list is below for wildlife drive with poor photos of the RNPH and others(lighting was horrible):