July 24 – More Stunning Than Watching Grass Grow

It was actually the opposite of watching grass grow – the grass (and mud) disappeared, as the waters rose both nearly invisibly and rapidly.

This morning I went to Westchester Lagoon and the coastal trail to the south of there by the Audubon Bench. It was maybe an hour before high tide, a very high tide of 32.6 feet (as compared to the previous low time of 1.8 feet). Hudsonian Godwits were accumulating on the island in the Lagoon, Short-billed Dowitchers were gathered on the pond just west of the Lagoon and Canada Geese were scattered across the lake.

Out on the mudflats water had started to cover the mud. Two Sandhill Cranes were strolling in the grass and mudflats. A couple of times they paused in their strolling to call loudly.

A few mostly Greater Yellowlegs were wandering about, and all seemed calm. But it was not. The water was rising, rising, rising, and it was almost impossible to see it happen. Gradually the cranes and shorebirds were forced closer to me and whole areas of mud disappeared. The shorebirds (yellowlegs, Least Sandpipers mostly) began to fly about with nowhere to land except in the water. It was clear that there was advantage to having the long legs of the cranes and yellowlegs but eventually they had to fly away.


After the shorebirds had all departed for unknown more upland sites, ducks and Bonaparte’s Gulls swam in closer.

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Back in the Lagoon the shorebirds had also disappeared. As I walked the trail, all of a sudden a family of mostly grown Mallards came splashing wildly across the lake toward me and the shore. I was confused until I heard the cry of a Bald Eagle above. Maybe they thought I’d protect them from the eagle.

There were many Red-necked Grebes around, both half-grown young and adults. The oddest thing was that two adults seemed to be trying to build a nest on what appeared to be a floating mass of vegetation, since the water of the Lagoon had not before this had a little island at that spot. Very strange.

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One thought on “July 24 – More Stunning Than Watching Grass Grow

  1. Nancy July 25, 2017 / 3:11 am

    Lynn, I have very similar photos of a pair of red-necked grebe’s at what I believe is the same spot in the lagoon from our trip there on June 24th! So interesting to see your photos. I wonder what is going on with them?


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