Saturday, September 24, 2016

Shorebirds at Bridgewater! - 19 Sep 2016

While driving home from work I decided to come into the Bridgewater complex at Inkster Rd. so that I could check the puddles for shorebirds. Bridgewater is currently in the construction portion of phase 3 of the complex and the bare fields are now seeing foundations and houses being built. A year ago the fields here were alive with meadowlarks, Savannah Sparrows, and nesting Spotted Sandpipers. Since then, the entire region has been cleared to bare ground in preparation for the new community. During the past summer scrub grasses have started to reclaim the ground, and ponds now sit where dirt has been moved in anticipation of foundations being dug.

I had spotted a Lesser Yellowlegs last evening, and wanted to see if it was still around. It was! So, after dinner, Robin and I hiked the approximately ½-mile distance from Brownton Abbey to the small puddles so that I could digiscope the bird. It wasn't easy.

The Lesser Yellowlegs was visible and in good light. However, I would have to wade through the gauntlet of noisy and skittish Killdeer that covered the fields 150+ birds strong. No sooner had I made my way around (so that the sun was at my back) did the entire flock of Killdeer flush; the yellowlegs flew off with them.  I followed it to several other puddles, and then was surprised when it flew back to the puddle where I was standing. I managed a few pics from about 100' away before it flew to the north.

As I was heading back toward home I noticed a Solitary Sandpiper skulking in the low weeds next to the edge of the largest puddle. Score! I would spend the next hour or so trying to get digiscoped images of the bird in perfect light. It was sunny, with clear skies and zero humidity. The sun was setting toward the golden-hour, and lighting was perfect for getting crisp digiscoped images.

The construction crew must've wondered why a guy w/ so much camera equipment was standing in a bare field photographing piles of dirt...

Come for the Lesser Yellowlegs, and stay for the Solitary Sandpiper!

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