Note: This field trip was sponsored by the Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society, a NYSYBC Partner Club. Many thanks especially to Stella Miller of HOBAS for planning and leading this great trip!
Most people don't think getting up at the crack of dawn to be at a parking lot on Long Island by seven thirty in the morning is the way to have fun. Especially a Saturday in the summer. But for a small group of youngsters, there was nothing they would rather do that morning.
Our group gathered in the northwest corner of the Cupsogue Beach State Park parking lot. Our main goal that morning? Terns. We gathered our members and, after a brief restroom break, started into the thicket of phragmites bordering the asphalt. The ankle deep muck that formed the trail ducked in a few shoes and claimed my right flip flop before we made it to the edge of the water. The majority of our group left shoes on the bank, and we all struck out across the shin-high water towards the flats. Part way to the flats, we stopped to scope the distant terns, picking up a few Black Terns and a single Pectoral Sandpiper from among the various terns and peeps spread in front of us.
We worked our way closer to the flats, joking and talking as we slogged north through the mud and muck underfoot. We reached more solid ground on the south end of the flats and started scanning the tern flocks, getting treated with close looks of both Least Terns and a breeding plumaged Red Knot. From the flocks of Common and Least Terns, we spotted a pair of Roseate Terns and two Forster's Terns. Then Brent pulled out an Arctic Tern from the flock and got the group on it. Shortly, groups of older birders were joining us and various members of our group were pointing out the arctic tern to some fairly senior New York birders, who soon confirmed the Arctic Tern ID. Soon, most of us headed back to the parking lot to disperse and head our own ways around eleven in the morning. All in all, it was a good morning on the Long Island mudflats.
The Arctic Tern we saw at Cupsogue:
Video on left was taken by Benjamin Van Doren; photo at right by Richard Fried.
List of Birds Seen on this Trip
by Brendan Fogarty
Species Total: 46
|* First time seen on a NYSYBC trip|