Aug 5, 2007

Birding by Boat

The Jamaica Bay Birdwatching Paddle on Saturday morning was highly successful. Six of us took a very leisurely paddle to check out the shore and water birds. One of our discoveries, launching a few hours after low tide, was a great variety of birds in our own basin. Louis suggested heading up the basin to check out the new salt marsh remediation area, and in our brief paddle past the marina we found many species, including Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Short-billed Dowitcher, Killdeer and Semi-palmated Plover.

We saw the four common gulls that inhabit our waters in the summer, and also the two terns (though fewer of those than usual). After exploring the basin we headed into Jamaica Bay and over to Canarsie Pol. With the tide about half way up we could paddle into the marshes, but there was still plenty of mudflat exposed for feeding birds.

Among the large wading birds in the area we saw Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Great Blue Herons and Glossy Ibis. One spot along the back of the Pol featured trees filled with egrets and a few herons. It was fun to see them rise up in flight suddenly from the marsh grass. Jamaica Bay is a highly rich birding destination, visited by birdwatchers from all around the country.

Recently there have been some rare bird sightings in the wildlife refuge that have attracted crowds to those mudflats, even in the sticky heat of the past few weeks. Let's hope this resource continues to be available, and that our marshes are not obliterated by the pollution of the bay.

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