[birding] Shorebird & E.E. Wilson
jgeier at attglobal.net
Tue May 2 01:52:05 PDT 2006
In response to Rich's question, E.E. Wilson is seldom a hotspot for
spring shorebirds in general.
It used to be one of the best places around to look for Solitary
Sandpipers (SoSas) since they favor more secluded and partly vegetated
ponds. During Dave Budeau's tenure as manager a few years back, he and
staff would sometimes find upward of a half dozen SoSas scattered around
the area while they did their rounds. However, in the last couple of
years it seems that most SoSas are short-stopping at wetlands farther
south, around Finley last year and this year in Monroe.
Seeing shorebirds in the vegetation is also an issue. During the SAS
field trip on the 22nd, Glen Lindeman and I saw a ploverish bird flush
from one shoreline in the south end which does have plenty of exposed
mud (same place where I saw the Lesser Yellowlegs last month). Glen
thought it might have been a Black-bellied Plover since it looked dark
in front, but he did not get enough of a look. We both saw it go into a
vegetated island so we tried to wait it out, but it never showed itself
again. It was plover-shaped and had that style of flight, but did not
act like a Killdeer so I suspect Glen's hunch was right, or else a
Becky & Martha & I saw a flock of Least Sandpipers in one of those
wetlands along the west side of E.E. Wilson on Sunday, foraging in one
of the wetlands on a wet "island" that was disked up last year. They
were hard to see though. I would not have noticed them except I was
looking at a Killdeer. Most of the best peep habitat on that side of the
wildlife area is nearly invisible from the roads -- you might spot more
by scanning with a high-powered scope from the Coffin Butte overlook
(though good luck ID'ing them at that distance!).
The canal & angling ponds are seldom good for shorebirds this time of
year due to heavy angler traffic (looked like about 30 people out there
on Sunday) but can be better in fall migration, especially if they do a
There are still quite a few wet spots in the grass fields around here
which are almost completely invisible from the roads this time of year.
Back when I was patrolling the grass fields more often, I would
sometimes find peep flocks and tringas out in the grass fields in these
kind of conditions.
Bottom line, I think shorebirds have a lot of choices this year and a
lot of those choices may not be very favorable for birders who want to
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