Yesterday I was alerted to six juvenile Pectoral Sandpipers and two 
Dunlin among the birds visiting the Heckscher puddles. When I arrived, 
several people with cameras were out of their cars attempting to get 
photos or get closer looks. These folks were approaching cautiously and 
slowly, and while the birds did not immediately flush, they were 
obviously hyper-alert, interfering with their ability to feed, rest and 
preen in peace.

I was curious about the age of the Dunlins, as they were in a 
transitional plumage I suspected to be molting juvs. So I returned to 
the site this morning, where I was very upset to see, not for the first 
time, photographers in two cars and a truck positioned RIGHT IN THE 
PUDDLE, practically on top of and surrounding the birds. I decided this 
would not be a pleasant study and left.

I can no longer remain silent on this issue. Folks, where is your common 
sense, courtesy, and decency? Give these birds a chance! Is your photo 
more important than the well-being of these migrating birds? Give other 
birds who may be avoiding this disruption a chance to land and feed or 
rest as well.  And give other birders a chance to see them! Another 
birder, scoping the birds from great distance, through gaps among the 
closely gathered vehicles, was completely blocked when  the truck, 
already on top of the birds, was re-positioned to be EVEN CLOSER to the 
birds.

PLEASE - Stay in your cars! Or scope from a distance.
PLEASE - Stay out of the main puddles. Especially do not drive up 
near/onto the grassy berm in the center of the main puddle.
Please keep your distance --these long-distance migrants are dropping in 
to rest and preen and feed, impossible with such pressure on them so 
constantly.
And please have respect for others trying to see the birds.

The Dunlin, by the way, are indeed molting juveniles, as confirmed this 
morning by Shai.

Patricia Lindsay
Bay Shore





 

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