Long-tailed Jaeger at (Mono) County Ponds

From: Jim and Debby Parker
Email: jimndebby@qnet.com
Remote Name:
Date: 08/26/02
Time: 08:18 AM


At 9:30 on Saturday, 8/28 during our leg of the Mono Shorebird Census at the "County Ponds" near Dechambeau Ponds, Debby Parker yelled out "Look, Jim, there's a Jaeger!" We quickly spun the scope away from a fascinating group of gadwalls onto this most exquisite bird. The next two and a half hours were spent deep in study, determining that indeed we were gazing at our life long-tailed jaeger, and that its subadult plumage (illustrated from above and behind in the 3rd Ed NGS guide) was really the bird we were watching. During this time, our friendly jaeger paddled about, pecking at the surface for unseen morsels, and occasionally cruising through clumps of gooey pond scum where it seemed to get its feet caught and had to kick a bit to free them. At one point, an immature-plumaged black-crowned night-heron flew by, prompting our friend to sortie forth in a very jaeger-like pursuit until the night-heron was convinced that discretion was, once again, the better part of valor. Perusal of David Gaines's "Birds of the Yosemite and the East Slope" informs us that this bird is an extremely rare fall vagrant there.

Photos: Jim and Debby Parker