Andrew, Thanks once again for your updates on this important shorebird site and tactful dialogue with the refuge staff. My impression is that the East Pond has declined significantly over the years as a shorebird feeding and roosting site. There could be many many reasons (assuming the data fits this personal impression) but I wonder if the pond doesn't need a more extensive spring clean so to speak? Maintaining this type of habitat (often called scapes) is a fairly advanced science involving periodic draining, freshwater flushing and remodeling. Shorebird focused refuges often construct multiple impoundments to allow some to be kept flooded whilst others are drained and then refilled. Similarly, isolated roost islands or shingle bars need to be maintained so that birds can sit out the high tide undisturbed. The Raunt, for example, has crumbled away and is now barely separated from the eastern margin. It used to be the most important site on the pond. Drawing down the water level on schedule is one thing but maybe more needed? I appreciate the Park Service and the refuge are under tight fiscal constraints but maybe birders can help through fundraising, donations of materials or if necessary, with manual labor. Has anyone sampled invertebrates in the surface mud to monitor productivity?
> I wanted to share with anyone interested, an an update on the water level > on the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Queens Co. > Unfortunately, the news is not good. The water is quite high. On the South > End which is the where the first bit of mudflats would begin to show, the > water is right up to the phragmites on the edge of the trail before you > turn right to access the last bit heading towards the pond. > Based on my record keeping of water level and dates, we are once again > behind on schedule. I do not see any kind of flats opening up until August. > No doubt, the weather has not helped with the excessive rainfall but I > have a hard time reconciling why we seem to have a repeat of the same > situation - it seems year after year. > Changing subject slightly, I'm puzzled about the BAIRD's SANDPIPER reported from Nickerson Beach (Nassau Co.) yesterday. The few photos I've seen are marginal (seemingly distant and partly obscured by grasses) but are suggestive of an adult alternate plumaged Baird's/White-rumped Sandpiper. However, the descriptions in several eBird checklists are either inconclusive or strongly suggestive of White-rumped Sandpiper. I don't think leg color is useful (both should be blackish) and at least two reports mention a white-rump, which of course is damning for Baird's! Not sure anyone commented on the color of the lower mandible at the base. Did the dryish habitat play a part in the ID? Was wondering if there are better photos or if observers have changed their minds after reviewing online photos and other reference materials? -- Angus Wilson New York City -- NYSbirds-L List Info: http://www.NortheastBirding.com/NYSbirdsWELCOME.htm http://www.NortheastBirding.com/NYSbirdsRULES.htm http://www.NortheastBirding.com/NYSbirdsSubscribeConfigurationLeave.htm ARCHIVES: 1) http://firstname.lastname@example.org/maillist.html 2) http://www.surfbirds.com/birdingmail/Group/NYSBirds-L 3) http://birding.aba.org/maillist/NY01 Please submit your observations to eBird: http://ebird.org/content/ebird/ --