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


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