Wednesday, December 31, 2014

West Village, NYC

After seeing the reports of the Couch's Kingbird I got into a taxi and headed to the West Village - in route the location of the Kingbird changed so at least I had current info on it's whereabouts.  With other birders and onlookers walking by wondering why everyone was looking up, I found my last new species for 2014.  I also a few other birds in the area, most notably a Cooper's Hawk.

Couch's Kingbird
Cooper's Hawk

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Wild Goose Chase Part 2, Southards Pond, Babylon

I went looking for the Barnacle Goose and Greater White Fronted Geese to get better photos but could not find them  - only found one small flock but was just Canadas.  I also checked out some Canada Geese at Belmont Lake, but no luck either.  While in the area I went to Southards Pond for the first time - mostly Mallards and Black Duck - highlights were a Great Blue Heron, Yellow Bellied Sapsucker, (and a bat).

Monday, December 22, 2014

Wild Goose Chase

After seeing posts on ABA about a Barnacle Goose at St. Charles I made about 4 or 5 unsuccessful attempts of connecting with it - tried St Charles and the surrounding locations as well as Belmont Lake.  After a report Sunday afternoon of the Barnacle Goose at St Charles and 3 Greater White Fronted Geese by Colonial Springs Golf Course I made a desperate attempt to locate them right before sunset.  (I was there earlier in the day)  I was able to find them but couldn't get great photos with the dim light - at least I was able to observe them well with my new Vortex binoculars - although they were among large groups of Canada Geese, they're so distinctive that they were easy to find.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Massapequa Preserve

I did a few quick searches around the 2 ponds Saturday  - by the Pittsburgh entrance I saw a lot of Robins and I believe a Yellow Bellied Sapsucker (quick look).  As I was leaving there was a Red Tailed Hawk over Lockhart.

At the "Doris Place" pond I saw a Goldfinch, Hooded Merganser pair, American Wigeons (no Eurasian yet) and Mallards.  Once again I saw a Rusty Blackbird near the small bridge on the west side of this pond.

On another note I could not find the Barnacle Goose seen at St Charles.  I may have seen a Cackling Goose but was too far way for a positive ID.  I also checked a Canada Goose flock at Lockhart for the heck of it.

Recently around my house I saw a Merlin and 2 Red Tailed Hawks in my neighborhood.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Floyd Bennett Field, Hempstead Lake, Jones Beach West End

Long story short, I had the day off with my son so decided it would be a wise choice to take a ride to Floyd Bennett Field and try for the continuing Cassin's Kingbird and Le Conte's Sparrow.  Entering the "field" I observed a pheasant flying by.  We tried for the sparrow first which was seen earlier in the day by the water, but because it was too breezy I didn't want to stay there with my son.  We headed over to the north side of the community gardens where I got a quick glimpse of the Cassin's Kingbird flying away into some trees and out of view.  I was thinking I hardly saw it and was disappointed until a few minutes later when it re-appeared and put on a good show - really beautiful bird.  A few other birds were seen including a large flock of blackbirds - most were Starlings and some Brown Headed Cowbirds.

We drove back home and passing Hempstead Lake State Park on the Southern State, I thought I saw a Bald Eagle perched in the park, but it turned out to be a Peregrine Falcon.

At the Jones Beach Coast Guard sandbar I saw the continuing Marbled Godwit actively searching for food (usually rests with it's beak tucked in).  At the West End 2 lot, Snow Buntings touched down a few times and a Northern Harrier was seen patrolling the dunes to the west of the lot.

Cassin's Kingbird

another view of the Cassin's Kingbird
"blackbird" flock

Peregrine Falcon - Hempstead Lake
the continuing Marbled Godwit with Brants
Snow Buntings

Massapequa Preserve

I had a couple of hours to search the preserve so I started at the entrance by Pittsburgh Ave.  The first bird I saw (with my new bins) was a Red Bellied Woodpecker.  The ponds had the usual winter waterfowl (American Wigeons, Hooded Mergansers, Mallards, Mute Swans) with a continuing Northern Pintail.  A Red Tailed Hawk flew over the "Doris Place Pond" and at least one Rusty Blackbird was also seen in that area.  Other notables were Goldfinches, a Golden Crowned Kinglet and Catbird.

Red Bellied Woodpecker
Northern Pintail
Mute Swan

Friday, November 28, 2014

Bryant Park, NYC

There has been another American Woodcock reported at Bryant Park - was behind the south side of the skating rink active and probing for a meal.

American Woodcock

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm thankful new scope and Vortex Diamondback binoculars.  The only bird I'm concerned about today is a turkey, but while I was packing the car, getting ready to head out to dinner I saw this Red Tailed Hawk chased away by some Blue Jays.

Vortex Diamondback 8x42, Simmons 20-60x, 60mm scope
Red Tailed Hawk (Massapequa)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Jones Beach West End, Jones Beach Coast Guard Area

So I got a scope...a very cheap one so I figured take a chance...I was pleasantly surprised - I think the zoom is 20-60x and 60mm.  It worked a lot better than my "old" Bushnells (that's another story) and the experience was very pleasant.  I wouldn't carry the scope and tripod looking for songbirds, but perfect for looking at shorebirds.  I was out recently where I missed some Red Knots among Black Bellied Plover and the person who spotted them had a scope - definitely a great tool to have.

Around the marina I saw some Red Breasted Mergansers.  On the sandbar towards the bridges heading to Point Lookout I could make out a lot of Comorants and a small amount of Oystercatchers.  (did not locate the Marblled Godwit).  By the West End 2 lot I saw 2 Northern Harriers - one was right in front of me - tried to get a photo but my camera "acted up."  Always next time I guess.

Northern Harrier

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Jones Beach West End

I had my son with me this morning so we took a ride down to Jones Beach West End since he's been telling me he wanted to go birding with me next time I got out.  It was too cold for us to walk around so we did our search from the car.  He enjoyed the Herring Gulls at the Fishing Pier lot and I got good looks at 2 American Pipits.  The Common Ground Dove had been reported on ABA but flushed before we got there.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Early November to Mid November Updates

I haven't been birding much lately because of personal reasons so this post is a "summary" of all the days and locations that I've been to for the first half of November.  Sightings are mostly typical for this time of year - late fall migrants such as sparrows, Hermit Thrushes, Kinglets etc.  Waterfowl are beginning to show up in decent numbers - saw FOS Long Tailed Duck, Ring Billed Duck, Green Winged Teal, Northern Shovelers, American Wigeons and Hooded Mergansers.

Notable highlights include:
Common Ground Dove at Jones Beach West End (second time on LI according to ebird)
Rusty Blackbirds (3 at Massapequa Preserve, 2 at Mill Pond)
Cooper's Hawk at Massapequa Preserve
Eastern Screech Owl (grey) presumably continuing resident at Massapequa Preserve
Gannets in large numbers off Jones Beach *(common now, but personal favorite of mine)

Cooper's Hawk
Eastern Screech Owl
Rusty Blackbird
Common Ground Dove - Jones Beach West End
Hermit Thrush - Massapequa Preserve

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Massapequa Preserve, Massapequa

I went to the preserve in the morning to look for the Screech Owls, but no luck.  I was asked to take a look - the wildlife rehabilitator for the Grey and Red morph Screech Owls is considering releasing 2 more into the preserve - although I would love to have 2 more owls nearby, it's up to the rehab guy to decide what's best for the owls.  After I looked a few times for the owls, I went by the dirt lot/ game field area - there were a lot of Chipping Sparrows, Palm Warblers (some had great color), some Juncos, Song Sparrows, etc.

Later in the day, I saw a Ruby Crowned Kinglet in my garden.

Palm Warbler

Monday, October 20, 2014

Jones Beach West End, Mill Pond, Meroke Preserve

I spent most of the day at Jones Beach West End - in hindsight, it seemed to be Part 2 of 3 of the migration fallout.  Lots of Kinglets and Sparrows - seemed to be more Ruby Crowned than Golden Crowned this time.  Sparrows were on the side of the road everywhere as well as Juncos and Hermit Thrushes- got a great shot of a Lincoln's, a Field and some juvenile White Crowned Sparrows.  I spent a good time going around the "shrub area" in front of the Coast Guard entrance.  Got my lifer Pine Siskins early in the day - a few small flocks flew overhead - a few touched down briefly.  Another treat was seeing 2 Eastern Meadowlarks.  A Merlin flew in and tried to get some sparrows - it got one but dropped it - I assume the sparrow flew off.

I took a break from the west end and stopped at Meroke Preserve - I was pleasantly surprised  - saw a few Ruby Crowned Kinglets, Hermit Thrushes and what I can best determine to me my first Purple Finch. 

I returned to the west end where I got good looks at 2 Marbled Godwits on the Coast Guard sandbar.  I believe these are the same individuals that have been around moving with a flock of ~250 Oystercatchers.  Also saw a group of Royal Terns, Dunlin, Black Bellied Plovers, and Sanderlings. (and the Brants are back)

Golden Crowned Kinglet
Ruby Crowned Kinglet
Lincoln's Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
White Crowned Sparrow
Sparrow sp.
Field Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Palm Warbler - Eastern yellow
Eastern Meadowlark
Pine Siskins
Merlin - after diving over a group of sparrows - got one but dropped it
Marbled Godwit
Marbled Godwit - usual pose, with Oystercatchers
Oystercatchers with 2 Marbled Godwits on either side of the photo
Royal Terns with Black Bellied Plover and possible Dunlin
Royal Terns (14)
Shorebirds still present: Oystercatchers, Black Bellied Plovers, Dunlin, Sanderlings
Brants are back
Northern Pintail - Mill Pond
Bufflehead - Mill Pond
Purple Finch - Meroke Preserve

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Jones Beach West End, Massapequa Lake

I went by the Jones Beach Coast Guard marina to find out if the Marbled Godwits were still around - I found 2 as well as a small Western Willett.  Merlin were also still around in good numbers.

I made a brief stop at Massapequa Lake to check on the waterfowl - just found a Ruddy Duck.

I didn't have my Canon camera with me so these were taken with my old Casio/ binocular combo.

Shorebird mix
Oystercatchers, 2 Marbled Godwit, Willett
Oystercatchers, 2 Marbled Godwit, Willett