Sunday, January 31, 2016

Jones Beach West End: Horned Grebes

I arrived at Jones Beach Field 10/ fishing docks in the afternoon with my son -  highlights were 3 Bonaparte Gulls and a White Winged Scoter.  The Coast Guard area had the usual winter waterfowl and a Peregrine Falcon was perched on the tower above the Coast Guard building.  We took a walk around Short Beach and at the end found about a dozen Black Bellied Plover, several Surf Scoters and 3 Horned Grebes close to shore (my FOS)  Northern Harriers were seen here and there between West End and Field 6.

Bonaparte Gulls
Red Breasted Merganser
Common Loon, Horned Grebes
Black Bellied Plovers
Horned Grebe
Red Tailed Hawk

Saturday, January 30, 2016


I stopped at Massapequa Lake on Merrick Road - I didn't have my good binoculars so I scanned the lake best I could - saw about 5 Great Blue Herons scattered around the island and north side of the lake, Ring Necked Ducks, Hooded Mergansers, Gulls (Ring Billed, Greater Black Backed, Herring), Coots walking on the ice and most surprisingly hundreds of Black Ducks.  At John Burns Park I scanned the few Cananda Geese and Ring Billed Ducks but didn't see anything unusual except a few gulls eating the snow.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Jones Beach West End

Needed to get out of the house so stopped by Jones Beach West End for a couple of hours - there were lots of Brant, a handful of Black Bellied Plovers and a Bonaparte Gull.  Yellow Rumped Warblers were in the shrubs.  I heard there was a Snowy Owl by the jetty so made the long walk down there and saw my first Snowy Owl of 2016.  I also heard a continuing Lark Sparrow was by the turnaround and saw that also.  When leaving Jones Beach I saw a Northern Harrier spook a good sized group of Black Ducks.

Brant, Black Bellied Plover
Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl
Lark Sparrow
Ring Billed Gull
American Black Ducks

Shirley, Mastic Beach

On the way picking up my children at my in-laws I stopped at a few parking lots off William Floyd and at Smith Point - I scanned through lots of gulls but nothing unusual.

Ring Billed Gull

Saturday, January 16, 2016

North Babylon, Montauk

I started the day at North Babylon High School looking for a reported Barnacle goose - did not see any geese there so headed over to a nearby park I saw on a map and found it in a pond with Canada Geese.  I decided to make the trip out to Montauk to find some lifers that were reported.  A quick stop at Captree I found about a dozen Boat Tailed Grackles - along the way where Route 111 intersects with Sunrise Highway I saw my first Long Island Raven flying overhead.  My first stop out east was Big Reed Pond to look for Virginia Rails - I wasted a few hours there getting lost - my only sighting were 2 Red Tailed Hawks calling to each other.  I went to Montauk Point looking for a reported male King Eider and Razorbills that was seen earlier in the day- no luck  - I scanned through the flocks of waterfowl  - scoters, Common Eiders and Loons.  I realized I don't enjoy birding trying to look at a bird from such a distance - I prefer getting good looks at a bird I'm looking at - not just species identification.  I went by Gosman's Dock and on the east side of Montauk Lake Inlet - my target birds were reported Iceland Gulls but did not find them among the many gulls there. (I did not yet realize I had seen one already at Camman's Pond)  I saw a juvenile Gannet struggling to fly against the west wind - I wasn't used to seeing so much black on the back wings so I thought I had some unusual for a moment.  Some Great and Double Crested Comorants were on the tower on the east jetty.

Barnacle Goose
Barnacle Goose
Boat Tailed Grackle
cropped image of a juvenile Gannet
juvenile Gannet

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Camman's Pond, Merrick: Iceland Gull (Kumlien's)

I saw this gull last week at Camman's was actually my target bird for the location (reported by another birder on ABA)  Maybe I didn't realize what it was because the bird was so calm and didn't move when I got close to it...I knew something was "different" about it at least so I checked the ID and got another lifer for 2016 !

Iceland Gull
Iceland Gull
Iceland Gull

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Amityville, Massapequa: 2 Ross's Geese!

I was taking my daughter to her art class and planning on showing her and my son the continuing Ross's Goose when 2 simultaneous reports came out - there was the continuing one at Avon Pond, Amityville and a new on at Berner Middle School - that worked out great cause my daughter's art class was at Berner!  We saw the new one from the car and I got closer looks with my son after I dropped my daughter off - I rushed over to Amityville where the first Ross's had moved to Riverside Avenue with some Canada's (great "backyard bird")  Later on, after my daughter's class, the new goose relocated to the pond at Marjorie Post Park where we got better views.

I always had a feeling a rare goose would turn up at that pond!

new goose at Berner Middle School, Massapequa
continuing goose in Amityville
new goose at Marjorie Post Park, Massapequa

Wild Goose chase is Over: Pink Footed Goose

I saw a report of a Pink Footed Goose at Miller's Pond in Smithtown so headed over there and got distant views of it - some time later it eventually took off with the Canada Geese it was associating with.  As I pulled out of the lot I noticed a field down the road so I figured I give it a shot to see if the goose landed there and sure enough, there it was.  I got great close up views of it.

I went to Amityville where I saw the continuing Ross's Goose right off Montauk Highway - got really great views of it also.  Camaan's Pond, Merrick had a good amount of waterfowl as well as Black Crowned Night Herons.  At Jones Beach West End I saw Harlequin Ducks, Purple Sandpipers, Common Eiders, and Long Tailed Ducks from the jetty, and Snow Buntings at the West End 2 lot.  I tried in vain looking for a reported (ebird) Northern Saw Whet Owl, but did find a late Phoebe.  I tried but could not find the Tufted Duck at Lake Capri but saw a Sharp Shinned Hawk.  At Belmont Lake the only notable sighting was a pair of Wood Ducks.  I ended the day with another visit to the Ross's Goose, then a stop at Farmingdale College-  there was a huge flock of several hundred Canada's but nothing else mixed in.

Pink Footed Goose
Ross's Goose
Harlequin Ducks
Purple Sandpiper
Snow Buntings
Northern Shoveler (pair)
Sharp Shinned Hawk

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Avon Lake, Amityville: Ross's Goose

So the wild goose chase is over for now (there was report of a Pink Footed Goose yesterday) but I was able to find my target bird for 2016 already and a bird I missed in 2015.  The details are being witheld for now, but I found out about the Ross' Goose from a post on Long Island Wildlife.  I couldn't take a day off from work so chose to look for it at night in the freezing cold.  I finally located it among some Canada Geese where it was contently preening itself.  The bird was still present on the pond when I left.  After walking around the pond I startled some ducks so I got back in my car and was able to find the goose - I suppose a car isn't as threatening as a 2 legged "predator".

Ross's Goose (photo enhanced)

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Bronx Botanical Gardens, Jones Beach West End

I was at the Bronx Botanical Gardens with my children where I suppose I kicked off the beginning of my 2016 bird watching.  Some Juncos caught my attention as we were walking through which made me stop and also take notice of a Red Bellied Woodpecker and Yellow Bellied Sapsucker.  I also saw a Red Tailed Hawk and a small "falcon" on the drive from Long Island.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year 2016

Looking ahead to the new year, I won't predict how many lifers I'll get to see like I did for last year - I'm just going to hope for the best.  If possible I would like to see some of the more "common" species such as an Orchard Oriole.  It would be nice to see a Ross's Goose since I tried unsuccessfully several times for the one in Eastport.  I had a lot of nice surprises last year so who knows what the new year will bring!