Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Killdeer, Randall's island

Yesterday, I went up to Randall's Island, mostly to look for the Killdeer that had been reported the day before. The report had been that the bird was on the grass of the baseball fields. Indeed, most of the snow had melted, but the Kildeer was not there. At the saltmarsh on the north end, I saw Song Sparrows and a Swamp Sparrow, and heard three more sparrows I didn't recognize. One gave a long fast trill--like a Junco but faster, and with a sharp up note at the end; it was quite loud, I think the bird may actually have been on the Bronx side of the channel. Another had a monotonous single high fluting tweet, repeated at intervals of a second or two for a minute. The third called do-TWEE-TWEE-do; that was probably just another Song Sparrow. None showed itself in the twenty minutes or so I waited.

The fields were occupied by a large number of Canada Geese and Brant. I walked all around the northeast shore and fields, and finally returned to the saltmarsh area. It was lucky I did so, because it was while observing the marsh from a vantage next to the (closed off) footbridge to the Bronx that I saw movement on the mudflat below.

Ed Gaillard: recent &emdash; Killdeer, Randall's Island

The Killdeer blended amazingly well with the mud and rocks, and walked quickly over the mudflat. I had a hard time getting a photo, because when I lowered my binoculars and brought up the camera, it disappeared. I did finally get some pictures. As you can see, they weren't great--the bird was at some distance, far enough that I couldn't tell if it ever gave the loud call that gives it both the common name "Killdeer" and the Latin name Charadrius vociferus ("loudmouth plover").

The Killdeer was my 70th sopecies in New York County this year.

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