Hudsonian Godwit, Stilt Sandpiper, Bridgewater Shorebird Recap, 9-22-2011

What had already been a fruitful shorebirding morning for Jeff Ellerbusch turned into an eventful afternoon when a Hudsonian Godwit put in an appearance for Jeff and I behind Patriots (TD Bank) Stadium in Bridgewater. It was discovered with a small group of Blue-winged Teal and other shorebirds in a fence-enclosed storm-muddied parking lot behind the stadium view-able from the STS (distribution center?) parking lot (“Hey, is that a big shorebird? Nah, just a duck. Wait-a-minute, it’s a Godwit!”).  I admit this was the first time I watched a Hudsonian or any Godwit as it stood in a parking lot next to a fire hydrant (see pictures) not to mention in a location not on the coast. Some of the birds from the morning were still present in the afternoon. Note that this is private property. We attempted to get closer looks and photos of the Godwit by entering the enclosed parking lot. There was a crew cleaning the lot with shovels and brooms. An irate foreman-type individual approached us, wouldn’t even listen to our story and ordered us out of the lot. A nearby truck disturbed the shorebirds and ducks and they flew. We were unable to relocate the Godwit. This area is very difficult to view with fences and obstructions but the birds are undoubtedly there. As far as can be determined both the Stilt Sandpiper and the Hudsonian Godwit are first records for Somerset County.  Wow! Two in one day at one place.

Here are Jeff’s totals:

- American Golden Plover- 1
- Semipalmated Plover- 2
- Killdeer- 15ish
- Lesser Yellowlegs- 10+
- Greater Yellowlegs- 2
- STILT SANDPIPER – 1
- Pectoral Sandpiper- 3
- Least Sandpiper- 20+
- Semipalmated Sandpiper – 15+
- White-rumped Sandpiper- 8
- Solitary Sandpiper – 1
- HUDSONIAN GODWIT – 1

Below, the Stilt Sandpiper seen this morning in Bridgewater by Jeff Ellerbusch, the first known Somerset County record. Click on the image for a larger view. (Viewed in an email, the following text and photos may get jumbled. WordPress strips out HTML tags in emails).

The Hudsonian Godwit Jeff and I found this afternoon at the same place. The bird soon flew and was not relocated. Likewise, a 1st record for Somerset County.

Zoomed in, identifiable, if not very aesthetic.

Submitted by Jonathan Klizas

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6 Responses to Hudsonian Godwit, Stilt Sandpiper, Bridgewater Shorebird Recap, 9-22-2011

  1. Patrick says:

    Did it head towards Middlesex County? :) GREAT find! Wow!

  2. md108 says:

    He might have ordered you to leave because, in some of those places back there, they found tar balls which contained benzene (the deadly carcinogen) shortly after Irene from the superfund site behind STS. — http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2011/09/07/Toxic-dump-site-threatened-by-flooding/UPI-41331315409360/

  3. md108 says:

    Also, I haven’t really ventured there, but I had no idea there were so many shorebirds back there! Is that a common spot to see them? I’m new to birding (kind of a casual hobby) and was under the impression you had to be down the shore to see plovers and sandpipers.

    • This is an out-of-the-way spot to say the least. And thanks for the link. I may consider getting a Hazmat suit before I go back there. Shorebirds can be seen during migration at suitable habitat in many different areas. From Wallkill NWR in Sussex to Bridgewater in Somerset to Spruce Run in Hunterdon and many places in between and elsewhere as well as coastal locations where you are likely to get the most diversity in species and greatest numbers.

  4. md1088 says:

    It helps that I also live in Somerville, so Bridgewater is ever so slightly in my neck of the woods…

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