Least Sandpiper and Boat-tailed Grackle on Sag Pond - 4 Apr 2010

There were some nice birds on the exposed sand flats at Sagg Mains in Sagaponack (Suffolk Co.) this morning including 2 LEAST SANDPIPERS, a Piping Plover, a 1st-yr ICELAND GULL, 2 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS (a basic-adult and a 3rd yr) and 3 Great Egret.

After a while I was joined by Hugh McGuinness and we soon found a LESSER YELLOWLEGS with 2 Greater Yellowlegs. Among the ducks, a male Lesser Scaup was in company of a female Greater Scaup and a male COMMON MERGANSER lingers. As we continued scanning, the nasal squawking of a male BOAT-TAILED GRACKLE caught our attention. It was striding around on the wet mud singing for attention. The species is very irregular east of Shinnecock Inlet, where they have been fairly scarce this winter. Seeming to sense that it was out of place, the grackle promptly took flight and headed west!

At Mecox Inlet, a different 1st-yr ICELAND GULL (paler wing tips than Sag bird) was on the flat along with 6 Piping Plover. I noticed a number of Red-winged Blackbirds and cowbirds flying west along beach and 2 Horned Larks also went low over the end of the inlet without stopping.

Offshore, the lifting fog revealed a steady push of eastbound waterbirds headlined by skeins of scoter (estim. 2500/hr) and Red-throated Loons (estim. 200/hr). Unfortunately the fog quickly gave way to dazzling sunshine making it difficult to identify anything but the closest birds.

Lastly, Vicki Bustamante reports that the CATTLE EGRET was still present on the south side of Montauk Hwy (Rt. 27) at the western (not eastern as I incorrectly stated yesterday) boundary of Hither Hill State Park. I searched again for the Sandhill Cranes in Sagaponack without success. I've still not seen any Snowy Egrets this far east, nor heard of any Rough-winged Swallow reports.

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