Multiple Peregrines and continuing shorebirds - 24 Aug 2010

A sure sign of autumn, PEREGRINE FALCONS are beginning to make their presence known. Vicki Bustamante noted her first of the season over Big/Little Reed Ponds today and John Shemilt reports that a peregrine has been making a nuisance of itself at Mecox Inlet since Monday. It was sitting on the flat this evening, taking flight occasionally to chase after terns. Luke Ormand has been seeing another off-and-on in the Shinnecock area, either around the Ponquoge Bridge, on the marshes along Dune Road. Two weeks ago, whilst seawatching, Andy Guthrie and I spend several minutes puzzling over a mysterious pinprick hanging in the air above some distant shearwaters. Eventually it dawned on us that the mystery bird was a Peregrine, evidently eating prey on the wing. It is actually not that unusual to see them many miles offshore, where they hunt terns, storm-petrels and so on.

Among the commoner gulls, terns and shorebirds at Mecox John Shemilt noted at least 7 BLACK TERNS and 3 LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULLS on Monday (23 Aug) and on Tuesday found 3 RED KNOT on the flat. In Deep Hollow, Montauk, Vicki Bustamante found 5 Killdeer, 4 Semipalmated Plovers and 3 Least Sandpipers on the wet areas around Rusty's (south side of Rt 27) but was surprised to find no shorebirds on the pond on the north side. I had a similar experience last weekend, finding an expansive muddy edge and only 3 Spotted Sandpipers to show for it. A mile and a half to the west at Rita's horse pasture, Vicki found 8 Greater Yellowlegs, one Lesser Yellowlegs and a handful of Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers.

The cut at Mecox has closed and presumably the pond will be filling fast with all this rain. Oyster Pond in Montauk is already very full having never opened and this could be an exciting spot if it were to self-breach. I currently don't know the status of Sag or Georgica.

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