Thursday, May 29, 2008


With only a little time to spare this morning I decided to hit Norbury's Landing as low tide is just before 10:30 a.m. If figured that the 40 minutes or so that I had would be best spent watching shorebirds rather than rushing a walk elsewhere.

I was pleasantly surprised when I found that there were good numbers of birds on the flats. I was hoping for a little less exposed ground as low tide was still two hours away, but you deal with what you have to work with. What had me discouraged was the fact that my scope had fogged in the warm morning air (I'd left is in the cool car overnight) and because I hadn't cleaned it in a while, it was refusing to become usable. Note to Don: we should work on a "how to clean your optics" Birding Fieldcraft. It was a pretty funny predicament as I clean other folks optics on regular basis when checking them out at the Northwood Center. None the less, I am human........

So after 15-20 minutes of pointing the fogged scope into the sun, the moisture had all finally evaporated from the objective lens and was again usable. (Remember this trick as it can come in very handy under the correct situations.) After have resolved in my mind that I was going to have to count birds I could identify with just my 8x bins, I was able to take advantage of that reach we get with the higher magnification in a scope. And boy what a difference that makes.

Advice to birders who are thinking about visiting Norbury's Landing. As stated previously, lower tides are best. At dead low the flats can be quite extensive and you are surveying a lot of real estate. This is great if you are wanting to work on sorting out distant basic plumaged Sanderling vs. basic plumaged Semi-palmated Sandpipers. But most who visit are probably looking to see Red Knots! And this seems to be a great place to view this highly publicized species this spring. While there was not much evidence, I was told that there had been some crab movement in the last few nights. There did not seem to be any concentration of feeding knots or turnstones that indicated a crab nest had been found. So, I recommend trying to get there on the rising or falling tides as this can allow for much closer views if timed correctly. My thoughts on today's birding were that had I gotten to Norbury's an hour sooner I might have had birds in a bit closer. High tide was about 4:00 a.m. and Low at about 10:30 a.m. I am guessing that given the distance the water was from the viewing area that hitting a mid-falling tide (about three hours after high and three and a half before low) might have just made for better viewing. Who know if I am correct. I guess I'll just have to conduct a little personal research and see if my hypothesis is correct.

I have pasted the list from today at Norbury's and, below, for our short trip up to HeislervilleWMA to look for the Curlew Sandpiper. We got short views of one bird but there were evidently two around. Good numbers of birds over all though I've been told that a sizable chunk of the population (Dunlin and Short-billed Dowitchwers especially) was not present on that day, presumed departed for the breeding grounds.

Location: Norbury's Landing
Observation date: 5/29/08
Number of species: 24

Canada Goose 6
Mallard 2
Great Egret 12
Snowy Egret 15
Black-bellied Plover 4
Semipalmated Plover 16
Willet 2
Ruddy Turnstone 75
Red Knot 115
Sanderling 370
Semipalmated Sandpiper 802
Laughing Gull X
Herring Gull X
Great Black-backed Gull X
Least Tern X
Forster's Tern X
Eastern Kingbird 1
Fish Crow 2
Purple Martin 1
Barn Swallow 1
Cedar Waxwing 2
Song Sparrow 1
Indigo Bunting 1
Boat-tailed Grackle 4

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2

Location: Heislerville WMA
Observation date: 5/27/08
Number of species: 31

American Black Duck 2
Mallard 2
Great Blue Heron 1
Great Egret 3
Snowy Egret 6
Black-crowned Night-Heron 1
Glossy Ibis 6
Clapper Rail X
Black-bellied Plover 400
Semipalmated Plover 600
Killdeer 2
Willet 4
Ruddy Turnstone 10
Red Knot 8
Semipalmated Sandpiper 10000
Least Sandpiper 150
White-rumped Sandpiper 4
Dunlin 2000
Curlew Sandpiper 1
Short-billed Dowitcher 1500
Laughing Gull X
Ring-billed Gull X
Herring Gull X
Great Black-backed Gull X
Forster's Tern X
Yellow-billed Cuckoo X
Tree Swallow X
Barn Swallow X
Marsh Wren X
Red-winged Blackbird X
Common Grackle X

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2

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