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Queens Chronicle

They wing it at weather-weakened bird fest

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Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2019 10:30 am | Updated: 11:50 am, Thu Aug 29, 2019.

As passionate birders and wildlife advocates walked the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Center’s trail, they spent just as much time swatting away mosquitoes as they did spotting shorebirds.

That’s because, according to the organizers of the 14th annual Shorebird Festival, the conditions on Aug. 17 were not too conducive to birding. It was quite muggy and overcast as Don Riepe, president of the American Littoral Society’s Northeast Chapter, and others led dozens on the walk.

The East Pond, normally overflowing with a variety of birds, was just overflowing on that day — in other words, it was flooded. Program leader Kevin Karlson said the pond’s conditions were a consequence of climate change.

The birders who showed up bright and early made the best of the situation, spotting plenty of feathered friends along the trail, including ducks.

One of the bay’s many ospreys was on a nesting platform, left. Terns, center, flew over the trail and landed on the water.

Professional wildlife photographer Lloyd Spitalnik, in blue shirt above, led a seminar on shorebird photography, Karlson taught the crowd how to identify different shorebirds and other experts shared their knowledge of coastal avian life.

Keep your talons crossed for better weather next year!

— Anthony O’Reilly

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