21 Black Terns

On Sunday, 8/23, there were 21 Black Terns at Nygren Wetlands. They were already present when I arrived around 9:45 am and only continued another 10-12 minutes before departing to the south.

The birds were feeding over the water of the marsh with a lot of swallows.

Water level at Nygren is up as the result of last week’s rain, so there isn’t any shorebird habitat at the moment except for a small patch of the gravel island.

Nygren shorebirds on 8/15

Barbara wanted to check Bumble Bees at Nygren this morning. As long as she was going, I decided to check the water levels in the Nygren marsh and look for shorebirds. So, we headed up there around 9:00 a.m. before the temperature got too hot.

Not much was visible from the overlook except the usual shorebird suspects and a pair of nice-looking Green Herons, but, as I was standing there, a flock of approximately 12-15 peeps flew by and were headed for the east side of the marsh. The early morning light is blinding if you look east from the overlook, so I headed to the east side near the photo blind.

From there the light was excellent, even though heat haze was beginning to affect viewing. I found a total of 12 species of shorebirds. In addition to Killdeer, Least, Pectoral, Spotted and Solitary Sandpipers, I had the following:

Semipalmated Plover 1
Lesser Yellowlegs 18
Stilt Sandpiper 1
Semipalmated Sandpiper 5
Western Sandpiper 1 (juvenile molting toward basic)
Baird’s Sandpiper 1
Wilson’s Phalarope 1 (juvenile)

All of these were on mud flats that were not visible from the overlook. The mud flats are getting extensive and should continue to be good habitat for shorebirds. Early morning is best for viewing with light at your back. A telescope is necessary. These conditions ought to continue to be good for shorebirds, so we should keep an eye on those mud flats regularly. Please post if you go there and find shorebirds.

In addition to the Mallards and Wood Ducks, there were small numbers of both Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal.