Sunday, February 23, 2014

Jones Beach West End, Meadowbrook Parkway, Part 2

Thanks for everyone's help with the blackbird ID from yesterday - most are saying they were Boat Tailed Grackles and not Rusty Blackbirds.

At the Coast Guard Marina I saw the same waterfowl as Saturday - a female bufflehead and 2 Horned Grebes as well as 2 Common Loons and Brant.  There were more birds on the median today: Killdeer, Juncos, Mockingbirds.  I met a very pleasant couple looking for a light phase/ghost Northern Harrier, but we found a typical one over the dunes.  A crowd was gathered observing a Snowy Owl.

Along the Meadowbrook, I saw the previously reported Rough Legged Hawk and also 3 Red Tailed Hawks.

Red Winged Blackbird on left

Northern Harrier


Boat Tailed Grackle

Red Tailed Hawk

another Red Tailed Hawk

Rough Legged Hawk

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Massapequa Preserve, Jones Beach West End, Meadowbrook Parkway

I was at Massapequa Preserve around 2:30 but not much going on (only there 30 minutes) I was mainly looking for the Screech Owl, but found an American Wigeon, Mallards and Chickadees.

I drove to Jones Beach West End around 4pm - at Field 10, saw one loon and gulls...the Coast Guard Station marina had a female Bufflehead with 2 Horned Grebes as company, also saw 2 Long Tailed Ducks in the distance. Nothing going along the road or median, but there was a Snowy Owl on top of one of the dunes.

I drove North on Meadowbrook Parkway looking for the reported Rough Legged Hawk, but only found a juvenile Red Tailed Hawk. I saw about 100 blackbirds  - with help from some ABA  - they're actually Boat Tailed Grackles (not Rusty Blackbirds).

American Wigeon - Massapequa Preserve

Horned Grebe - Jones Beach Coast Guard

Snowy Owl - Jones Beach West End

Boat Tailed Grackles
Boat Tailed Grackles

Red Tailed Hawk (juvenile) - off Meadowbrook Parkway

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Great Backyard Bird Count

I figured I should participate in the 2014 Great Backyard Bird Count over the next days.  I tend to interpret things literally so I stayed in my yard even though the Bird Count allows bird watchers to report birds from any location.  I was hoping to report something exotic but even though I live a few blocks from Massapequa Preserve, I rarely see unusual birds from my yard.  I was happy with what I observed on my first day (56 birds, 14 species) since I feel it represents what I typically see from my yard (which is the purpose of the bird count.)  I also reported a Carolina Wren and Sharp Shinned Hawk which seem somewhat common around my area.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Connetquot State Park, Oakdale

I was recently a Connetquot State Park  - my target birds were the 2 recently reported Red Necked Grebes.  I didn't find them but I couldn't stay long either to do a decent search.  It seems I've been having bad luck with target birds recently- but I did eventually get good pics and looks at Redheads and the female King Eider.  Not sure why I seem to have bad luck with target birds since I was lucky to find the feeding Red Tailed Hawk and Screech Owl at Massapequa Preserve and seem to have a habit of finding "off season" birds in our area. Perhaps I do best when I don't have anything specific that I'm looking for.

Anyway, the main lake at Connetquot had an impressive number of waterfowl: Gadwall, Hooded Mergansers, Ring Necked Duck, and American Wigeons.  I was surprised to see so many drake Common Mergansers and was about to get a photo of one when I saw an adult drake Eurasian Wigeon that reminded me of the 3 impressive ones I saw last winter at Massapequa Preserve.  Didn't get a great pic but had to try for nostalgia's sake.

Eurasian Wigeon and Gadwall