Saturday, February 27, 2016

Jones Beach West End, Smith Point, Oak Beach

I took a ride with my kids to Jones Beqch West End to check on the continuing Lark Sparrow - I found him at the turnaround without having to get out.  A search through the gulls in the lots didn't turn up anything rare.

Smith Point was a bit of a disappointment - I checked the gulls in the lot but nothing was out of the ordinary.

Heading back west I saw a report of an Eared Grebe seen earlier at Oak Beach - I gave a half decent look but didn't see it - my consolation was a Horned Grebe.

Horned Grebe

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Coney Island: Thick Billed Murre and my redemption Razorbills

I saw reports of a Thick Billed Murre seen at Montauk by the inlet at Lake Montauk - as I was contemplating making the trip out there a second report was posted of another one by the 35th street jetty by Coney Island.  Still a good drive but a lot closer to Montauk, I got my gear and headed over there.  By the time I had arrived the Murre had moved west towards Norton Point out of decent scope view.  A suggestion by another birder to walk up the beach was all I needed to go chase it.  Getting through the sand hills, rocks and metal beams along the way was tricky but not enough to stop me.  I made my way up the beach but didn't see the Murre.  Just when I thought I wasted my time and energy a bird appeared fairly close to me in the water- was a Razorbill!  I had seen one some years ago right off Jones Beach Field 10 but the photos I got were bad so I always hoped to see another.  The Razorbill gave good views preening itself and diving- I had no idea they could stay underwater so long.  After a while I also got to see a likely second one.

Scanning the water I assumed I missed the Murre by now but one dark object that seemed to just float caught my attention- turned out to be my lifer Thick Billed Murre after all.  I must've raced past it and  didn't see it till now.  Great day - I was glad my effort finally paid off.

Thick Billed Murre

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Massapequa Preserve, Jones Beach West End, Camaan's Pond, Blydenburgh

I made my first trip of the year to Massapequa Preserve - usually I try to go right at the beginning of the year but I've been somewhat avoiding the preserve because the last few times I've gone there's been dogs running around without leashes and unapologetic owners.

Anyway, I stopped by to check up on the grey Screech Owl who I was happy to find in a certain tree by the ball fields.  I also saw my FOY definite Red Wing Blackbird.

I headed over to Jones Beach West End hoping to show my NYC birder friend the continuing Lark Sparrow so he could get a great easy lifer.  The winds were really dreadful so the Lark Sparrow must've been hiding.  His consolation lifers were Tree Sparrows, Fish Crows and a nice flock of Snow Buntings.  We then stopped by Camaan's Pond in Merrick where we saw domestic Mallards, Northern Shovelers, and Black Crowned Night Heron.  A desperate attempt to make up for missing the Lark Sparrow at Blydenburgh was unrewarding to say the least.  Was a decent day despite missing our main target bird however, a very experienced birder I know once told me "Robert...birds have wings, sometimes they will fly."

Eastern Screech Owl
Redwing Blackbird
Fish Crows
Black Crowned Night Heron

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Sands Point: Barrow's Goldeneye

I started the day driving out to Pelham Bay Park and arriving before dawn to find a reported Barred Owl - despite a good search in the pines where it was seen, I was unable to locate it - I did find a Great Horned Owl (and a few raccoons).  Other birds at Rodmans Neck included Scaup, Tufted Titmice, Grackles and I heard a Redwing Blackbird.

I headed over to Bayville where I checked the north part of Oyster Bay, some spots on Long Island Sound and Mill Neck Creek.  I looked for rare gulls but didn't see any.  I left earlier then I originally planned to look for the continuing Barrow's Goldeneye.  Low tide was at 2pm but I got there around 11:30.  I started my search around Hoffstot Lane where I found some Common Goldeneye around some rocks. I parked at Sands Point Preserve and made the trek west towards Hoffstot Lane- I scanned through the Common's with my scope and wham! finally found the Barrow's!

I went to Venetian Shores to locate the "Lake Capri" Tufted Duck  - I didn't find it, but there were hundreds of Scaup, many Ruddy Ducks, Brant and Buffleheads.  I found an odd looking Ring Billed Gull at the marina - appeared to have yellowish buff around the eyes.

I stopped at Argyle Park in Amityville - mostly Black Ducks, Ring Billed Gulls and a neat looking domestic Mallard.

I concluded the day at Cedar Beach where I found a Great Backed Gull feeding on a Red Breasted Merganser in the water - he gull later dragged the duck onto the ice where another gull joined it.  I got the impression they were a pair.

Great Horned Owl
Great Black Backed Gull
Barrow's Goldeneye
Red Throated Loon
Ring Billed Gull - not obvious from the photo but had a yellowish buff around the eyes
Hooded Merganser
American Black Ducks
domestic Mallard?
Great Black Backed Gull with Red Breasted Merganser for dinner
Great Black Backed Gulls with Red Breasted Merganser for dinner

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Jones Beach West End

I had about an hour to go birding so I went to check on the continuing Lark Sparrow at the Jones Beach turnaround - found him when I drove into the lot - I walked over to find him with a few Tree and Song Sparrows.  (also found a single chirping Tree Sparrow)  I walked over to the inlet and saw a Common and Red Throated Loon.

American Tree Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Lark Sparrow