John Workman hit a bonanza at DeKorte early Saturday morning — including two Glossy Ibises and shorebirds galore.
His full report follows. (Thanks, John!)
At DeKorte in the Meadowlands it was (as my Aussie roommate in grad school used to exclaim) “a bonza early morning.”
Got up at 4AM, and was looking over Berrys Creek well before dawn. Early fall migration evident with a number of peeps (small sandpipers) flying in and around. About 85 total, with some in-flight groups of 20 plus. Still not light enough to determine species. A couple of Greater Yellow-legs as well.
At the DeKorte impoundments at dawn and low tide. Inadvertant perfect timing. Had a single Short-billed Dowitcher, along with both Yellow-legs. Semipalmated Sandpipers in airborne handfuls.
A single Least Sandpiper had the entire whopping Saw Mill Creek Impoundment mudflats to itself. Out there with no other visible sandpiper its size, it did indeed look uncomfortable, warily cocking its head skywards every few seconds. A tiny morsel trying to get south ahead of all those hungry Merlin to come.
– two Glossy Ibis flying low over the same impoundment; they were close enough and in such perfect light, I could even check to see if they were of the White-faced species (they were not);
— a pair of Black Skimmer on the Kingsland Impoundment; and later in the back channels, working the surface in their hypnotic fashion;
– one Least Tern doing those belly-buster "splatter-dives" while fishing (didn't see its mate),
– twenty-two Forster’s Terns (counted them lined up on the railings) , including 9 juveniles of which four were still in that annoying and endearing sit-and-beg stage. Two of the parents took to harassing every single bi-ped walking innocently by on the Transco Trail (of which there was only one: me). I don’t speak or understand Ternese, but I know a Mother's Warning when I hear it, so I kept moving.
Later, and away from the madding crowds, a single Saltmarsh Sparrow was taking it ease on a reed, a Least Bittern brushed the tops of the phrags while carrying a frog back to its hidden young, three Swamp Sparrows took turns trilling, and two young Northern Harriers flew in — and then disappeared right after I looked away briefly.
On the walk back to the car: a Ruby-throated hummingbird zipping south — just below the embankment of the western spur of the Jersey Turnpike.