Documenting the Birding Adventures of Scott Whittle
Saturday, June 14, 2008
The last week I've been going out to Cupsogue, on the eastern end of Long Island. Along with several other inlets on the South Shore, Cupsogue is a great area to see terns, and also a good spot to sea watch. Sea watching, of course, is just what it sounds like...sit on a beach (preferably in an elevated spot) watch the water for birds. This time of year you might see several types of Shearwaters, Wilsons Storm Petrel, and maybe even a Jaeger. Of course there is a lot of seeing nothing, too, but you can do worse than sit on the beach and look out over the ocean these days.
The flats at Cupsogue are very cool...mud flats are exposed on the bay side at low tide, and lots of shorebirds are attracted to them. Dowitcher, Red Knot, Willet, and other sandpipers are common. The terns are mostly Common Terns, but every once in a while another bird seems to magically appear in the flock. In the last week I've seen Roseate Tern, Royal Tern, and most surprisingly (and with Shai Mitra's help!) a Sandwich Tern. Arctic has also been present several days this week, but I haven't seen it yet...I'm sure a little persistance will pay off eventually with that bird.
Even when there are no "special" terns around it's great to just wade around out there and photograph the birds. I was about 8 feet from a group of Short Billed Dowitchers, and had a great time taking photos. Also got photos of Salt Marsh and Seaside Sparrows, both of which are in the grassy marsh that abuts the flats. It's sunny and hot and I'm using sun tan lotion for the first time this year, and it's been really enjoyable to be at the beach and be looking at great birds.
My name is Scott Whittle and I'm a professional photographer (www.scottwhittle.com). I have an MFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. I started birding as a teenager, and then dropped it for many years. I started to bird again in 2007, and have been birding since then in Brooklyn, NY and Cape May, NJ.