Having worked as a wetland delineator for the past four-plus decades, slogging 
through mud has become too much more like work than recreation, so I have 
largely stopped going to the East Pond, However, on my past few visits I have 
seen green paint-colored water in the pond, and the likely culprit is the 
cyanobacterium Microcystis, which is highly toxic, at least to mammals.  
Unfortunately, it has become prevalent during warm weather in fresh and 
brackish water bodies throughout Long Island and beyond.  Could the shorebirds 
be favoring the cleaner tidal waters and mudflats of the adjacent bay instead 
of the pond?
Bob Grover

Bob Grover
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From: bounce-123728941-3714...@list.cornell.edu 
<bounce-123728941-3714...@list.cornell.edu> On Behalf Of Angus Wilson
Sent: Sunday, July 07, 2019 11:51 AM
To: nysbirds-l <nysbirds-l@cornell.edu>
Subject: Re: [nysbirds-l] Jamaica Bay East Pond Water Level 2019 & Nickerson 
sandpiper ID


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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