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Sue's Bird Blog Archives

Long Island Lifers - Cassin's Kingbird and Marbled Godwit

Published November 25, 2014
Tags: Life List Happenings, Cassin's Kingbird, Marbled Godwit, Northern Gannet, Brant, American Oystercatcher, Black-bellied Plover

Somehow, a western flycatcher lost its way and ended up in Brooklyn, NY at Floyd Bennett Field. This flycatcher, a Cassin's Kingbird, is a very handsome bird with a striking yellow belly. It's only the second time it's been recorded in New York and its appearance has caused quite a stir with New York birders.

Catching the craze, Willie, Celeste, and I took a short trip down there to see it. We were so pleased that the bird was very visible when we arrived and we enjoyed watching it hunt for insects, preen, and sit for close to an hour.  We were lucky enough to hear it call a few times too.

A Common Ground-Dove is also making quite a stir close by, a southern bird that lost its way. This bird was almost lunch for a Merlin - and barely escaped but minus most of its tail! I hear the tail has grown back but I didn't get to see that for myself.  We couldn't find that dove for the life of us!  However, we DID see a MARBLED GODWIT, a very exciting bird for me!

The Marbled Godwit is a large sandpiper with a long and slightly upturned, bi-colored bill.  They are found mainly along beaches or large mudflats during migration and on grassy plains during breeding season. While they have stopped along the lake in WNY, they don't seem to stay for very long. I was so happy to see this bird and even get a few photos.

Another bird we missed was the Henslow's Sparrow that Pat Lindsay found the day before we arrived.  We took part in a search for the sparrow organized by Doug Gochfield and Sean Sime. There were at least 20 birders present and we were instructed to form a long line.  Standing shoulder-to-shoulder, we slowly walked across the field.  Apparently, this bird will scurry like a mouse under the field grass and it is very difficult to find using any other means. We did this a few times with no luck; we can only assume the bird has continued on its migratory trip. I've only seen one once before (Henslow's Sparrow) and would have liked another look at this rarity.

Some other birds we saw on this trip were many Brant, American Oystercatchers, more American Black Ducks than I can even estimate, Dunlin, Red Knots, Black-bellied Plovers, a Ruddy Turnstone, Red-throated and Common Loons, 6 Northern Gannets, Savannah Sparrows, many Tree Sparrows, Northern Mockingbirds, Northern Harriers, Sharp-shinned, Cooper's, and Red-tailed Hawks, and Bald Eagles.
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Cassin's Kingbird
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Cassin's Kingbird with a wasp
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Cassin's Kingbird
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Cassin's Kingbird
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Cassin's Kingbird
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Cassin's Kingbird
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Cassin's Kingbird
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Cassin's Kingbird
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Marbled Godwit
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Marbled Godwit
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Marbled Godwit
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Marbled Godwit
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Marbled Godwit
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Marbled Godwit with Black-bellied Plovers, Dunlin, and American Oystercatchers
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Shorebird flight consisting mostly of Dunlin and Sanderlings
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Shorebirds in flight
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Three of many Brant that we saw
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Northern Gannet flying out over the ocean
Reply from: Gale on 11/28/2014 4:51 PM
 Great photos Sue and Congratulations on your Marbled Godwit sighting!!!
Reply from: Sue on 11/30/2014 9:32 AM
 Thanks, Gale! I think I may have been more excited about the godwit than the kingbird!
Reply from: tim on 11/30/2014 4:43 PM
 Beautiful job Sue!