Trip Reports
Jamaica Bay - NYSYBC

posted 9/7/08

On Saturday, August 16, 2008, the New York State Young Birders Club held its inaugural field trip at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge with co-leaders Doug Gochfeld and Shai Mitra. After heavy thunderstorms the previous day, chances were good for a successful and clear field trip. With American Golden-Plover, Wilson's Phalarope, and Red-necked Phalarope having been seen the previous day, hopes were high for some interesting sightings.

East Pond, south end
Starting the day at the East Pond (south end)
Click photo to enlarge

The walk began at eight o'clock with clear skies and warm weather. From the visitor center it was a short walk to the southern entrance to the East Pond. Due to the previous day's rains the water level was unusually high, causing the birds to concentrate themselves amongst the few patches of exposed mud left. A small group of shorebirds containing mostly Semipalmated Plovers and Sandpipers with a few Short-billed Dowitchers and Lesser Yellowlegs mixed in sat right offshore, and a juvenile Little Blue Heron was feeding nearby, along with a Gull-billed Tern. Soon after arriving, Doug found an ibis which appeared to have a small amount of red in the facial area, but it was at too great of a distance to be certain. After getting looks at Blue-winged Teal, Wood Ducks, Pied-billed Grebe and both Night-Herons, the group pressed on along the eastern edge. After relocating the ibis farther down the shore, the leaders were able to confirm the identity as a White-faced Ibis. Unfortunately, soon after getting several photos of the bird it took off with a small group of Glossy Ibis and flew east towards JFK. There was little of note at the Raunt, and soon after arriving everyone headed back to the visitor center.

Lesser Yellowlegs, photo by Jacob Drucker
Lesser Yellowlegs on the East Pond
photo by Jacob Drucker
Click photo to enlarge

After a quick break at the cars, the group exchanged their rubber boots for hiking shoes for the walk to the west pond, a historical location for White-faced Ibis. A juvenile Willow Flycatcher surprised everyone as it flew across the trail and gave its "whit" call. In the Spartina alterniflora on the bay side of a trail, an adult Tricolored Heron and juvenile Clapper Rail gave excellent looks. A small number of Least Terns flew over the pond, but otherwise there was nothing else of note.

At 12:00 everyone had returned to the parking lot, and the Rochester group decided to depart on their long drive home, along with a stop at Shawagunk NWR for a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. After a quick break for lunch and a group photo, the remaining participants clambered into the adults' vehicles for the drive to the north parking lot for the East Pond. After arriving and amusing themselves with a coconut, the group walked south to the north entrance. The water level was incredibly high, with no visible edge on 80% of the shoreline. Unfortunately, other than a few great looks at a couple of White-rumped Sandpipers, there was little of note.

The first field trip of the New York State Young Birders Club can be considered a complete success, especially with the incredible White-faced Ibis. This seemed to be an excellent way to start this club, and I look forward to the future of this organization.

Brent Bomkamp, age 14

                 Lunch near the Visitor Center       Shai Mitra reporting the White-faced Ibis
                       Lunchtime in front of the Visitor Center                  Shai reporting the White-faced Ibis  
                                                       Click photo to enlarge 

More Photos Taken During this Field Trip

Click on thumbnails to enlarge

Starting off at the south end of the East Pond, photo by CPooth
Starting off at the south end
of the East Pond
Birding every bird, photo by Carena Pooth
Birding every bird
Erich scopes it out, photo by CPooth
Scoping it out
White-faced Ibis, photo by Brendan Fogarty
White-faced Ibis
photo by Brendan Fogarty
White-faced Ibis, photo by Hope Batcheller
White-faced Ibis
photo by Hope Batcheller
White-faced Ibis (left) and Glossy Ibis (right), photo by Hope Batcheller
White-faced Ibis (left) and
Glossy Ibis (right)
photo by Hope Batcheller
GMixed shorebirds, photo by Hope Batcheller
Mixed shorebirds
photo by Hope Batcheller
On the trail to the West Pond, photo by Brendan Fogarty
On the trail to the West Pond
photo by Brendan Fogarty
The young birders, photo by CPootht The first coconut, photo by Hope Batcheller
The first coconut...
photo by Hope Batcheller
At the north end of the East Pond, photo by CPooth
At the north end of the East Pond
(after lunch)
White-rumped Sandpiper, photo by Jacob Drucker
White-rumped Sandpiper
photo by Jacob Drucker
High water on the East Pond, photo by CPooth
The water level was too high
to attract many shorebirds.
Taking pictures, photo by CPooth
Taking pictures of
a few cooperative birds.
Lesser Yellowlegs, photo by Hope Batcheller
Lesser Yellowlegs
photo by Hope Batcheller