Birder's Guide

MAR 2018

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 33 of 73

Belt Parkway bike path or by car via the Plumb Beach rest stop on the eastbound (eastbound only) Belt Parkway, between exits 9 and 11. The beach and dunes themselves are a nice geographical fea- ture to concentrate birds, but a lot of the appeal comes from the saltmarsh to the north of the beach and the tidal mud- flats that run the entire length of beach on the inlet side. It can be worth visiting at any time of year. The beach is perhaps best known among nature enthusiasts as a spawning site for horseshoe crabs. A visit between mid-May and early June should enable you to experience these remarkable pre- historic creatures, along with the atten - dant shorebirds and gulls vying for their eggs. For a spectacle of maximum im- pact, aim for either a full moon or new moon high tide. As for birds, the marsh hosts multi- ple pairs of breeding Clapper Rails, and sometimes breeding Seaside Sparrows, among other marsh species. Semi- palmated Sandpipers, Sanderlings, and Red Knots are some of the regu- lar migrant shorebirds, but other spe- cies seen here include Hudsonian and Marbled godwits; Buff-breasted, Baird's, White-rumped, and Western sandpip- ers; Whimbrel; Wilson's Phalarope; and Ruff. Shorebirds can be plentiful in spring during their northbound pas- sage and again in late summer on their way south, with greater numbers in the spring and greater diversity in late sum- mer. October through early November offers a truly excellent, and rare, op- portunity for comparison of marsh spar- rows, as the saltmarsh features multiple subspecies of Nelson's Sparrow, along- side Saltmarsh, Seaside, and apparent hybrid Saltmarsh x Nelson's sparrows. In winter, Plumb Beach quarters mod - est numbers of "Ipswich" Savannah Sparrows and has played host to Common Redpoll, Glaucous Gull, and King Eider. Lastly, you can't talk about Plumb's birdlife without bringing up its rarity track record, which is exceptional for any site of comparable size in the phalaropes, and, once, following a win- ter storm, a flight of Dovekies. There is even an old report of an albatross from this location. If you're looking for anoth - er traditional Brooklyn food experience to fuel your birding, take a spin over to L & B Spumoni Gardens and try one of its famous Sicilian pizza slices before digging into the guilty pleasure of a deli- cious spumoni—a gelato ice cream with layers of different colors and flavors. Rockaway Inlet and Floyd Bennett Field Plumb Beach | Rockaway Inlet, which opens into Jamaica Bay, is the western- most inlet on Long Island and is the body of water between the Queens bar- rier beach and south Brooklyn. Plumb Beach (formerly spelled Plum) is a tongue of sand jutting eastward inside Rockaway Inlet, just east of the Coney Island land mass. It is accessible via the 32 Birder's Guide to Travel | April 2018 Birding Brooklyn n Prairie Warbler. Photo © Douglas Gochfeld

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