Chirps and Cheeps

A Photo Journal of My Birding Experiences & Observations

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  Whimbrel at Fort Niagara SP

Published: August 03, 2020
Tags: Rarities, whimbrel

Three Whimbrel were seen and photographed at Fort Niagara State Park.  These shorebirds are typically annual migrants to Western New York, but we can't always count on them stopping to visit.  And often, they can only be seen through a scope because they'll sit far out on a breakwall or just flyover and are quickly gone.  Rarely do they stop and rarely do we get nice views.  As I pondered these thoughts, I thought it might be nice to take the hour drive to see them but then I talked myself out of it and decided to wait with the hope that maybe I'd get lucky a little later in the season and get to see one closer to home.

A couple of days later, however, the trio was still being reported.  Friend, Shelley S, mentioned that she sure would like to see them and, since she doesn't drive, the long'ish trip suddenly took on a new meaning and a greater importance to me.

Shelley and I arrived to easily find the large, brown shorebirds foraging in the short grass near the beach area.  It appeared that the Whimbrel were dining on invertebrates, digging deep into the parched ground for them with their long, decurved bills.  We watched them for quite awhile, also enjoying a few short flights they made when oblivious beach goers passed by them too closely.

In flight, the birds showed dark underwings, tails, and backs, letting us know they were the expected American subspecies.

I'm very glad we went - what beautiful birds to see at a fairly close proximity.

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The three Whimbrel

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Two coming fairly close to us

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They're quite stunning up close!

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Look at that massive bill!

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This one took a short flight and was landing, showing off the darker tail and back.

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