Saturday, December 31, 2016

Year End Summary for 2016

At least as far as birding was concerned this last year, I have to say it was a helluva year.  I realized that sometimes it's easier to find birds if I travel a couple of hours to seek them out.  I did a couple of trips to the Adirondacks, one that was a 24+hour round trip.  Although I didn't see my main target bird, the Grey Jay, I did see Ruffed Grouse, a Sandhill Crane and saw where all those Blackburnian Warblers go during the summer.  My lifer Yellow Headed Blackbird in Broome County deserves mentioning also.

It was a good year for lifer warblers especially Yellow Breasted Chats, Worm Eating Warbler and one of my new favorite birds, the Black Throated Green Warbler.

It was also a good year for birds that a few years ago I wasn't so sure I would ever see such as Bobwhite, Least Bittern (New Jersey) and a Bicknell's Thrush.  I also got to see a bird I never knew about before, the Yellow-throated Vireo.  After a few failed attempts I found and got great views of another new favorite, the Nelson's Sparrow.

I found 2 Common Gallinules in Massapequa Lake which are uncommon for Nassau County.  It was nice finding something on my own - I feel like I've been chasing other birder's reports too much.

There's a lot more stories I could mention but there was one day in July that I can only describe as "EPIC!".  I went to Edwin Forsythe Refuge in New Jersey and saw a reported Red Necked Phalarope.  I returned the next day with my birding buddy Snouty and although we didn't refind it, we had the best birding day ever.  Our first "consolation" prize was a lifer Ruff, followed by nice views of Gull Billed Terns, Whimbrel, Clapper Rails, Caspian Tern, Orchard Oriole and Blue Grosbeak.  To end the day, we came face to face with a Prothonotary Warbler and had a Whip Poor Whil almost land on my head.

I had 41 life birds this year so my life list is now up to 331 "countable" birds seen in the continental US and 316 life birds for New York State.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Hamptons, Northport

I thought a change of scenery was in order so Snouty and I went to Dune Road/ Shinnecock Inlet to look for gulls, Snowy Owls, and Bitterns.  One the way driving past Connetquot State Park we saw an immature Bald Eagle flying over Sunrise Highway.  Once we got to Dune Road we battled wind and showers and found the typical sea ducks as well as a female Harlequin Duck, Great White Egret, Great Blue Heron, Snow Buntings and the best birds of the day were a juvenile Lesser Black Backed Gull and an Iceland Gull.  We tried looking for owls at Fuchs Pond but came up empty.  We had a possible Cackling Goose in the neighboring golf course. 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Cammaan's Pond, Merrick

Earlier in the week someone posted a photo of a Black Headed Gull on the Facebook page Long Island Wildlife Photography...long story short, it was nearby at Cammaan's Pond in Merrick.  Snouty went before me and refound the bird but it was MIA by the time I got there.  As I gave up and was leaving it popped up again and got some good looks at it as it was preening.  Not a lifer for me, but the only other time I saw one was at Jones Beach Field 10 in and over the water so was a treat to get an up close look at one.  Nice looking bird.  Also saw juvenile Ringed Billed Gulls - one had pink legs, Night Herons, and Northern Shovelers.

Ring Billed Gull
Black Headed Gull

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Robert Moses State Park, Massapequa Lake

Went back with Snouty to Robert Moses to look for a reported Glaucous Gull - didn't find it but did see the continuing Ross Geese, Snow Buntings, Horned Larks, and a surprise Lapland Longspur in Field 5.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Robert Moses State Park

Went to Robert Moses State Park to see the reported Ross Geese  - easily found them at the needle and saw the Grey Ghost along Ocean Parkway again.

Ross Geese
Grey Ghost

Friday, December 16, 2016

Jones Beach, Ocean Parkway, Robert Moses

Did a birding tour from the car today with Snouty...was surprisingly rewarding when we found a Peregrine Falcon in the Zachs Bay lot feeding on a pigeon, and got great looks at a "Grey Ghost" Northern Harrier on Ocean Parkway - I was driving alongside the Harrier so Snouty could get photos.  I wasn't so lucky since I somehow forgot my photo card.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Jones Beach West End

Was at Jones Beach West End  - didn't see anything rare but did get a great photo of a Nuthatch.

Red Breasted Nuthatch

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Belmont Lake State Park

There was a reported Barnacle and Snow Goose at St Charles Cemetary yesterday but I couldn't locate it - had a hunch it might be at Belmont Lake instead and I was right - found the Snow Goose soon enough, but took some time for the Barnacle Goose to appear.

Snow Goose
Barnacle Goose
Barnacle Goose

Friday, December 9, 2016

Aquebogue: Rufous Hummingbird

There has been reports of one and then two Selasphorus hummingbird at someone's feeders out east...I had a chance to visit so I took the drive out there.  The homeowner (Maragaret) was very gracious and welcoming - when I arrived I heard the bird had just been seen so I was thinking I missed it.  After a short wait the Rufous (most likely) Hummingbird made an appearance at the feeder - another birder confirmed both birds were present. (subtle differences between the two I think)  Was great to see a lifer and Margaret gave my son some hot cocoa to help stay warm since it was cold out.  I thanked the homeowner with a bottle of wine.  I had a Red Dog to celebrate my new life bird when I got home.

Rufous Hummingbird

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Jones Beach West End

I visited Jones Beach West End the last 2 days and nothing astonishing was found.  Highlights were a Pine Siskin with a group of Goldfinches and a group of ~100 Snow Buntings.

Pine Siskin

Friday, December 2, 2016

Jones Beach West End, Massapequa

Yesterday I drove to Jones Beach West End where nothing was going on so I headed over to Massapequa Preserve and was also there today.  I tried locating the previously reported Orange Crowned Warbler but did not find it this time.  Massapequa had the usual suspects for this time of year as well as an additional Wood Duck to the group of ducks that hang out by Clark Street.  I was happy to see at least the Grey Screech Owl was back and saw a Cooper's? and Red Tailed Hawk?.  I also saw a Cooper's Hawk fly by my house.  I was surprised to see a few Catbirds as well as a Towhee  - not sure if it's expected this time of year.

Northern Pintail
Eastern Screech Owl
"Woody Jr."(adopted)