The puddles are again becoming active and the birding should improve as the 
migration progresses. This morning there were more than 100 birds in a small 
puddle in the SW corner of the Orchard Beach parking lot. They were a mix of 
Semi-palmated Plovers and Semi-pal Sandpipers.  Last season we had quite a few 
interesting species including Red-necked Phalarope, Whimbrel, Western 
Sandpiper, Stilt, Solitary, Pectoral and Baird’s Sandpiper. 

Last year the asphalt was quite porous and broken. It was likely underground 
water percolated to the surface, keeping the puddles full, even during a 
stretch of dry weather. This probably kept whatever crustaceans that were 
present alive in the water. 

In the early fall, much to our dismay, they began resurfacing the lot with a 
fresh few inches of asphalt. I thought this would be the end of our “puddle 
birding.” Now water has accumulated in the uneven surface of the lot and has 
reformed where the old puddles used to be. I’m guessing that nature wins out. 
The ground is not solid there and the asphalt has sunk in the same places as 
last year.

So even with the new non-porous “clean” asphalt, the birds are finding much 
food. The water looks clear to me, but with 100 or so birds in a very small 
puddle, obviously feeding, there must be something good to eat.

There is also a broken underground pipe that has been leaking for months. It is 
located in the SW corner of the grassy oval that is alongside the road leading 
to the main entrance of the beach. It’s easily seen because Parks Department 
can’t cut the grass at this location, it’s too wet. A small muddy area is in 
the middle of this mess and lots of birds have been landing here too. The Parks 
administration told me they won’t repair the pipe until the summer beach season 
is over.

If you decide to visit, park at Rodman’s Neck and walk. Otherwise the fee is 
$10.00 to park on weekends and $8.00 during the week, $5.00 for seniors, only 
during the week. The Rodman’s Neck lot gets full early on weekends.

Lots of other species around too, Kingbird, Goldfinches, Waxwings, Chipping 
Sparrows, House Finches, Killdeer, both egrets, terns, gulls, etc. Be sure to 
check Turtle Cove nearby.

Jack Rothman

cityislandbirds.com
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