Date: 8/18/19 8:51 pm From: Robert Ross <plumisl...> Subject: [MASSBIRD] Virginia Rail, Sora, Baird's Sandpiper off Hellcat Dike
Two days in a row, a Virginia Rail and Sora have appeared across from the walkway between the two ponds, at the edge of the North Pool marsh . On Sunday, they were found together at approximately 10:45. The Virginia Rail remained out in the open, preening off and on, for nearly 30 minutes.
The Sora, believed to be a juvenile as photos confirmed a white mask around eye, moved in an out of the edge of the marsh, at one point foraging about 3-4 feet from the Rail. The tide was low. Adding an hour to the coming days to the time for viewing will be consistent with the timing reported today and Saturday, when the birds were first seen at 10 AM.
These two birds were nearly impossible to pick out with binoculars. A scope is a definite must. Extreme range photos, out of focus but clearly IDing species, can be seen at Wild Birds of Plum Island Facebook Group. If not a member, put in a request for quick approval.
The Baird's Sandpiper was also seen from the dike about 50 yards from the central path in the South Pool, on the left side working the edge of a small bay behind a peninsula that held a number of Mallards, Black-bellied Plovers, Short-billed Dowitchers, and a Great Blue Heron. The Baird's spent some time in the grass and some time just off the shore.
There were roughly 250-300+ peeps, which might be a too-low estimate. The swallows are still flying over in huge flocks, and the peeps occasionally flew up into the flocks and took short, quick flights among the swallows. The swallows are mostly Tree Sparrows, though a keen eye will find Barn Swallows and Rough-winged Swallows (at least) mixed into the migrating hundreds of birds.