The day before, a male Wilson's Phalarope had been reported at the same spot in Heckscher State Park that I saw the male Ruff in the last chapter. If I was to go to Arizona this summer, this would've been a rarity I could afford to pass since I planned to be in Arizona around the time western shorebirds like Wilson's Phalarope and Baird's Sandpiper started to move south. However, due to unforseen circumstances at ESF, I would not be able to bird in the southwest this summer; forcing me to have to chase any western birds that appear on Long Island. Unfortunately, by the time we got to the spot the phalarope was seen, it had left. Wilson's Phalarope is more likely to appear at Jamaica Bay later in the summer anyway, so I would hopefully have another chance.
Another bird I shouldn't have had to chase this year was Arctic Tern, which I was hoping to get in Maine at the Acadia Birding Festival along with Atlantic Puffin. Once again, because I had to cancel the majority of my summer travel plans at the last minute, I would not be able to get either species in their breeding range. While there is a slim chance for puffins in northeastern waters in winter, early June happened to be the best time for Arctic Terns in New York, usually at Nickerson Beach in Nassau County and Cupsogue Beach in Suffolk. With about two hours to kill before I had a driving lesson, I took an Uber to Nickerson to try and refind an Arctic Tern. Because getting too close to a Common Tern nest is basically asking for the parents to attack you, I focused most of my efforts on the roped off area on the west side of the beach. Amidst all the Common Terns, I found a Roseate Tern (which I had also come to Nickerson to look for) and a good candidate for Arctic. I also went back to the main colony to see if the Gull-billed Tern was still there, which it was, but not without facing the wrath of the angry Common Tern soon-to-be parents.
On visit 2, I returned to Nickerson to try for better Arctic Tern pics and a Black Tern that had been reported there as well. This time, the only terns at the beach were Common, Least, and Forster's.
Later that week, I had convinced my parents to let me look for Eastern Whip-poor-wills at Edgewood Preserve after we all went out for dinner. My plan was to get there around dusk in the hopes of hearing one sing. After a half hour walking arounnd the main field my dad and I went deeper into the forest where, upon reaching a sandy area, heard a repeated "whip-poor-will." I knew it was an Eastern Whip-poor-will, and also this happened to be #300 on my New York state list! After getting a recording, we headed home.
To be continued...
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