Monday, July 14, 2008

Long Beach and Nickerson Beach

I've been a bit relaxed on the postings lately, but over the July 4th weekend I headed out the eastern shore on LI to check out the beach. In the process I visited the amazing shorebird nesting sanctuary at Nickerson Beach, as well as some ospreys over on the bay side closer to Long Beach. The light was pretty poor, but even in these conditions, it was still abundantly clear that Nickerson Beach is a special place. Here's a sampling of what I found there:
A whole colony of Black Skimmers!

They make this almost crow-like "raw" sound.
It appeared that some of the young had already fledged, and that this group was likely to double clutch.

I also saw numerous oyster catchers doing the same. Here's a group of recent fledges harassing their parents!

A gullbilled tern warding me off from a nesting spot.

Also seen: piping plovers, herring gull, black back gull, laughing gull, tons of other peeps.
On a sad note, as I was walking the beach, there was a detached wing swimming with the wave action in the surf. At first I thought it a gull wing, but as a I neared, there grew a sick feeling in my stomach. Eventually it washed up on shore...

Astonishingly, it was the entire front left quarter of a juvenile osprey. Something had severed the body from the breast on down and stripped off the flesh. My only guess would be that one of the juveniles may have been practicing fishing and got caught in the surf where a shark took it.

Sleep well, gentle rower!

Also seen upstate in Bear Mountain...

Next up...juvenile peregrines!

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