Boys and PeepsRead Now
The other day I had the pleasure of babysitting my oldest grandchild....who is on the high-side of 3. We, well....I, decided to go out to the boardwalk in Ocean city around evening with Jonah.
Now Jonah is a young boy, full of energy..... as my daughter told me the other day, ...young boys are like dogs, for they just do things without thinking, much like a dog does. No thought, but plenty of action.
So at the 'boardwalk....boardwalk'.... he took off on me and found the stairs leading to the beach. Over the dunes he skirted and towards the wave line. He stopped right at the watery line....picked up 'whatever' was on the ground and preceded to play in the sand.
As I sat there and watched I noticed that no more than a few yards further down were a small flock of Sanderlings. Now, if you are not aware already, take some time and just observe Sanderlings. What do they do? Well....they move right up to the wave line looking for 'whatever' to eat and as the waves came in, they promptly move back. The waves recede, they move in....in other wards they follow the waves.
Jonah....ditto.....Playing in the sand....he would 'ebb in' when the waves receded and would promptly move back as they crushed into the shore line.
So there I sat...watching two completely different species along the shore line. Both would move in as the waves receded, and both would move up the sand line as the waves came ashore. In random they were....little feet, always in motion as they darted back and forth. Todders and Sanderlings, not much difference.
Gems in the GrassRead Now
Okay...a bit overstating the title as no...no real gems but, none the less they were good finds. I have been out of the country/state for the past 2 months so I had a good old fashioned hankering to visit Forsythe. I saw there were a few birds doing their 'fly-bys'...so thought I could see a few. In particular, the American Golden Plover and the Buff-breasted Sandpiper.
I have seen the Pacific Plover in Maui....seen the Pectoral Plover someplace here on the East coast, but those two eluded me, especially since I took out after the Plover in spring time and came back empty -eyed.
At the AAS board meeting the other day....Diane informed me she had seen 6-7 Golden Plovers near the tower, in the grass....on the upside of the drive. Robin said she saw the same Plovers (different day) just past the dogleg, so I figured I had a few chances to see em.
So on I went...the clouds were brewing up over Atlantic City and I knew I wasn't going to get in my full 2 hours or so as I usually require when doing the loopy drive before the rain settled in. There were a few cars on the drive, biding their time.....but I managed to skirt around a red truck and although it was low tide, I didn't get much of a chance to see any bird (except a crow) until way into the drive. First up, the grassy area (not a knoll) where I could possibly set up my shots. I saw dowitchers, yellow-legs (lessor or greater, not sure)....but no Goldens or Buff-breasted. Being a bit disappointed as I thought I could pick the Sandpiper up fairly quickly, I moved on. A drop or two hit the windshield, so I knew I had to move on. The middle leg of the drive was a pass by.
On I went as I approached the infamous dogleg... at first glance...nothing. But wait.... on the left side of that large pine in the dogleg, there were two mighty suspicious looking individuals. Short...and yes, buffy...hmmmm ...Pulled the scope and yes, they had yellow legs but not in Yellow Leggish height. All right....I am on to something. There was a Yellowlegs right near and the difference in size was very apparent. So yes...this was it. Buff=breasted Sandpipers, two of them...in view.
They got a bit jittery and flew in back of the pine. I followed and grabbed the scope and went up the road 50 yards or so , getting a view of the water and grass. There they were...just poking around, almost hidden from site but surely gems in the grass. And low and behold guess what? Two American Golden Plovers down aways. Ooooo lala I exclaimed, oo la la.
About that time, a few cars came careening around the bend and spooked the birds, but they just flew down aways on the left hand side of the dogwood. So, I hopped into the car and backlogged it, parked on the side...pulled out the scope and had some pleasant views of my two finds, my gems.
Now....just today, as I write this blog...I see where Charlie, Roz and Kris were doing the weekly duck count and came up 'missing' these two gems. Well, I can see why. The rain started coming down just after I left, and these gems were a bit hidden anyhow as they preferred the confines behind the pine in the dogleg. But fine with me....How many times have I gone out to 'seek' and yet 'not found'. So it was about time the gems in the grass allowed me to find them. Oh....the American Golden Plover was a lifer for me, but the Buff-breasted was just a New Jersey lifer...not bad though. Great day.
Sept AlreadyRead Now
Wow...it is September already and this 'blogger' took a break from 'blogging'....too much travel on my plate for the summer and there just wasn't time to blog.
A few highlights wrapped up in few words.
Ecuador.....hmmmmm... Diane, Les, John, Pete Howard and Doris all ventured down to Ecuador for a few days of birding. Pete came down early and we birded the coastal area of Ecuador and experienced the traffic ' down and up' the west side of the Andes. Trust me, just because you are in a third world, doesn't mean there is no traffic; cars and trucks. No...quite the opposite. There is traffic but what is lacking is 'infrastructure to support that same traffic'...But we managed to get in a few days birding the marsh land as well as the Ayampe River area. We came out with little bug bites, which is a huge plus.
Now...all others arrived and we birded the eastern side of the Andes. Excellent birding as we saw close to 150+ in the first day alone. A great lodge, excellent food, a few beers, and no rain. THAT, was the last of that, though as rain was the name of the game on the eastern slope for eternity it seemed. We left in the rain and we couldn't return 'due to the rain'. It was way to dangerous as many fatalities occurred with rain causing mudslides and road washouts. A complete bus was 'overcome' along with numerous cars as the rain lasted a solid 7+ days,
But we managed to bird the Paramo area in the Andes as well as the rich Mindo Valley, Miple and Rio Salanche areas. Some solid birding with some solid birders who enjoyed the culture that was offered, the nightlife---as one couldn't help but to take part of that if not just to 'listen'....
We also enjoyed the traffic as driving in Ecuador is anything but normal. If you thought the NJ Turnpike was bad, ah.....just drive South America and you know what driving truly is. In two 'formal lanes' ...there are actually 3 or 4 traffic lanes as cars just weave in and out on highways, passing on curves etc. The passengers of the vehicle have a few options, (a) take a nap and don't look but trust the driver, (b) keep your eyes wide open and swear often, or (c) look out the side window at the holes in the road and lack of pavement. I am probably missing an option in there.
So,...Ecuador a success as we saw close to 350 birds....and experienced the culture of Quito, the country.....the people. Life is all about experiences my friends and the more you have, the more life you lead.
Now.......the latter part of this guys summer was spent in Tucson, Arizona. But sadly the birding was lacking as the weather is hot....but there are monsoons and if you know where to look, you can find birds. Just hit the canyons and the mountains and do so prior to 10am and you shall find birds. Hummers, odd sparrows, grosbeaks and the lot. Stay on the paths as it is snake season but in the entire time I was there, I saw '0' snakes' Of course, I am sure they saw me....
Back to New Jersey and fall birding.....Cape May....migration at Brig, etc... ooo la la. Have you noticed the images being posted to our AAS Facebook page by Howard, Colleen, and Kevin...if not...visit that page and peruse the excellent fotos as they capture what we truly love. .