Friday, August 3, 2018

Bird Shift

I head up the East River near the bottom of the tide, getting an early start in order to beat the coming heat of the day.  The Osprey are not accommodating my desire of watching them fly.  The young are still not overly excited about testing their new skills and the adults are staying close to the nest where they can keep an eye on things.
At this tide my eyes are well below the top of the spartina marsh, but the exposed silt banks bring out the shore birds that feed on mud critters.  I pass a few rather sedate Willets and then when I get to the first bend at the railroad tracks I flush five Yellow-Legs.  This is a significant event as the Yellow-Legs disappear when the Willets arrive.  I don't know what the relationship (or bad relationship) is between them, but they don't seem to like being in the same area at the same time.

In the Big Bends, I spot a few more Yellow-Legs.  It has been several weeks since I've seen a Willet up here - there are usually just a few.  Either this area is undesirable for Willet nesting or the numbers of Willets hasn't required using the area, yet.  For good measure I flush a juvenile Night Heron from near the Rock Pile (actually an old tide control dam or man-made ford for crossing the river...or both).  It is probably a Black Crowned Night Heron, but I can't be sure.

Not long after passing under the Stone Arch Bridge I flush two herons - an adult Black Crowned Night Heron and another juvenile.  These are also significant events...the Night Herons are moving farther away from their rookeries now that their young are flying.  I don't see them here earlier in the summer.

Juvenile Black Crowned Night Heron
I turn at the Duck Hole Farms as the water is running thin.  Just about then, a Great Blue Heron flies across the river right up to a Great Egret spreading its wings and letting out a long "skraaaawk" and startling the Egret.  I broke out laughing at Nature's version of a practical joke.  It took the Egret a short minute to compose itself. 

My bird observations on my return journey are pretty much a mirror image of my observations on the way up.

No comments: