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