Sunday, April 12, 2020

Early Spring

I know I haven't posted much lately - I haven't gone birding too much and "the virus" situation doesn't help.  I will probably only post going forward if I see a life bird or see something unusual.  Currently, Jones Beach West End is closed because it has become a Coronavirus testing area.

When I first started my blog, I would post a lot - this or that bird was first seen for the season etc.  My focus on birding has shifted to just seeing new life birds or my favorites.  Having said that it seems like some birds have arrived a little early this late winter/ early spring.

Today I sat in my yard watching my family play giant jenga when I noticed 2 smaller hawks that I assumed were Cooper's Hawks but after seeing a report of a Broadwing Hawk the other day over Connetquot it got me thinking I should grab the bins.  After about 15 minutes I saw gulls, a Red Tailed Hawk and Comorant overhead.  Yesterday I stopped by Nickerson/ Lido where I saw lots of Gannets over the ocean.  On my way to Nickerson before sunrise I saw some Ospreys and my FOS Glossy Ibis fly over the parkway.

There were swallows and warblers reported at Hempstead Lake State Park recently so I stopped there next.  I saw Rough Winged, Tree and Barn Swallows over the lake and was happy to find a good amount of Pine, Palm and nicely colored Yellow Rumped Warblers by the dog field (where the Philadelphia Vireo was seen a few years ago)  Not sure what's going on at HLSP but seems they're ripping out some of the habitat there for who knows what reason.  Very disturbing to see what it looks like now.  : (

Pine Warbler
Palm Warbler
Carolina Wren

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Jones Beach, Patchogue, Bellport

Had a good birding day - started the day at the Jones Beach playground by the Gatsby area looking for a green Painted Bunting that had recently been there - no luck finding it.  Then went to the Coast Guard area looking for a continuing Black Headed Gull.  I honestly was just hoping to see Bonaparte Gulls just because I like them.  There was a small flock of about 10 Bonnie Gulls feeding by short beach along with a lot of Red Breasted Mergansers - after a while we were able to pick out the Black Headed Gull.  We went to the docks in Patchogue and Bellport looking for any uncommon gulls like Glaucous and Iceland.  We did not find those but saw a banded Herring Gull and a Ring Billed Gull that had a blueish tinge to it;s legs and beak.  We stopped at Swan Lake and Pond and got good looks at some Green Winged Teals.  We tried looking for a continuing Vesper Sparrow at Suffolk Co Education Farm but didn't find it.

We had some circumstantial evidence that the Painted Bunting had been at Jones the day before so we tried our luck again.  We met another birder who said it was flying around earlier so there was some hope.  Eventually I found it and was able to get some good looks at it.  Good way to end the day.

Black Scoter
Bonaparte Gull, not sure if front one is the BH
Herring Gull with band
Ring Billed Gull with some blue
Green Winged Teals
Painted Bunting



Sunday, January 5, 2020

Prospect Park: Varied Thrush

I tried earlier in the week before work with Mike Zito to see this bird but didn't have any luck.  Just saw a late Phoebe.  When the bird was reported in the morning, I figured I had a better chance to see it considering it was the weekend and more birders would be looking for it.  I drove to Prospect Park which I usually avoid doing and when I got there, no one knew where it was.  A few other birders next to me and I heard someone shout they had the bird so we ran over where they were.  It was uphill from the bridge and I was able to get "good enough" looks at it.  Nice to get a lifer but I have to say the overall experience wasn't pleasant.  The ride sucked, most of the other birders seemed rude and some guy wouldn't shut up about his knowledge about Varied Thrushes.  It was time to go after getting a few crappy shots.  Not the way I like to start birding in the new year.



Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy New Year

The past year was very interesting and I was happy to see some nice rarities.  My trip to California was awesome - definitely want to go back for another vacation and birding.  I loved seeing lots of Marbled Godwits all over the beach and Long Billed Curlews.  Black Phoebes and the hummingbird were some of the "cuter" birds I remember from the trip.  It was nice to end the year with the local Townsend's Warbler.  Hoping to see some cool birds in 2020.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

MASSAPEQUA: Townsend's Warbler

(Massapequa in caps because I live there)  So, I saw a Townsend's Warbler was ebirded and then emailed to the Listserv at night on the 28th - it was part of the Christmas bird count, but not sure why it wasn't reported on time so others could see it - I won't get into that here.

So, early next morning before sunrise, I met Mike Zito to look for the bird at Phillip Healey Park in Massapequa.  The warbler had been reported to be in the 3 pine trees by the entrance.  After a little while a bird that looked "different" flew by and into the pines - it was the Townsend's Warbler.  The last time I knew one was on Long Island was also in Massapequa (preserve) back in April 2002.

Nice to have a rarity in my hometown - several days later, a Black Headed Gull was reported at the same park.  I had a feeling it was a good spot for gulls.


Friday, December 13, 2019

Heckscher State Park: Northern Shrike

I started the day birding with Snouty and we saw a couple cool things: the continuing Common Gallinule at Mill Pond, a Black Bellied Plover at Point Lookout parking lot with a beige tinge on the bottom, a weird hybrid type Mallard at Nickerson and I spotted a glimpse of a Lapland Longspur there also among a flock of Horned Larks.  I picked up my son from early dismissal when Ken Feustel reported a Northern Shrike at Heckscher.  I gave my son lots of snacks for the car ride, promised him McDonald's and picked up Snouty.  When we got there, no one knew where the Shrike was but then it flew over my car and into the marsh.  It was later seen in the trees far behind the marsh but another birder had a scope so I got a good look at it.  I used my 200x zoom Canon to get some documentary type shots.  Glad to get this lifer since I missed it the last 2 times I tried for it on Long Island.

Common Gallinule
Mallard - domestic/ hybrid
Northern Shrike
Northern Shrike

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Notes from California trip: Pelagic Comorant

I went through my photos from California and saw a few Comorants that looked "different" to me.  I had a hunch they might be Pelagic Comorants and posted one photo from Cambria that confirmed my hunch.