Friday, December 29, 2017

Tiffany Creek Preserve

Went with Snouty to try to find the continuing Townsend's Solitaire - with some help from 2 birders we saw it and got good views.

Townsend's Solitaire

Monday, December 18, 2017

Democrat Point, Robert Moses State Park: Mountain Bluebird

There were reports of a Mountain Bluebird yesterday so once it was reported again today I thought it would be a nice potential end of year life bird for 2017.  After some initial confusion, I was directed to the general area by other birders.  With a little bit of patience I re-found the Mountain Bluebird.  It did not stay long because another birder chased it away. (literally ran after it)  It was reported almost daily up until at least Dec 27th.  It had a distinct flight pattern, was a bit dull but still a nice looking bird.

Mountain Bluebird
Mountain Bluebird

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Recent Sightings

Most of these were chases of other birder's reports:

Dec 12th - Crocheron Park, Queens: female Western Tanager, Chat
Dec 8th - Suffolk Co Environmental Center, Yaphank: Clay Colored Sparrow, Kestrel
Shinnecock Inlet: Snowy Owl,
Mill Pond, Sayville: Eurasian Wigeon,
Elda Lake: Greater White Fronted Goose
Dec 7th - Suffolk Co Environmental Center, Yaphank: Prothonotary Warbler, Raven
Mill Pond, Sayville: Eurasian Wigeon
Dec 1st: Jones Beach West End: Snowy Owl, Purple Sandpipers
Nov 30th: Gardiner's County Park: Red Shouldered Hawk

Western Tanager
Prothonotary Warbler
Snowy Owl
Red Shouldered Hawk

Friday, November 10, 2017

Jones Beach West End

There was a post of a Northern Shrike on LI Wildlife Thursday from around the swale by JB WE 2.  I took a chance and try to find it but if it was there, the strong continuous north winds kept it hiding.  Highlight were Gannets and a pair of Pintails on the swale.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

RIP Crakie : (

Sad news this morning - the Corn Crake was found dead early today.  I offered to bring it to Paul Sweet at the Museum of Natural History but a rep had already been sent to pick it up.  Study confirmed it was indeed hit by a car, a young male, and slightly underweight.  Great bird, RIP Crakie.

RIP Crakie

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Corn Crake Part 2

I went back to see the Corn Crake again but got a report that a Say's Phoebe was seen at nearby Heckscher Park - I tried looking for it but didn't have any luck (it was seen once and not relocated)  I did see 2 of the Hud Godwits who have been there a while now.  I stopped by the Corn Crake spot on the way back and got to see him again.  I think some of the birders were from Connecticut.

Corn Crake

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Ocean Parkway: Corn Crake

I went to Heckscher Park this morning with my kids to show them the Hudsonian Godwits and possibly the Long Billed Dowitcher and Golden Plovers but when we got to Field 7 most of the puddles in the lot had dried up.  I looked around and noticed a Godwit on the shoreline (of the bay) but as we got out of the car, 2 photographers? walked up to it and scared it away.  On the "plus side", we got to hear it (distress call) and it flew over our heads. 

Later on, I saw a "this is not a joke" post by Suzy Feustel that a Corn Crake was found by her and Ken on Ocean Parkway by Cedar Beach.  With some negotiating my kids obliged me with another outing and we got over there ASAP.  I saw the bird from a distance but wanted to get a better look and let my kids see it also.  Being spoiled with close looks of the recent Hudsonian Godwits, I made the mistake of driving up to the Corn Crake perhaps so my kids could get a look.  My daughter saw it but not my son...after a little bit the Corn Crake went into the shrubs.  Luckily it came out later and was obliging to other birders (whew!)  This was a great bird to see and I'm thankful for the Feustels for finding and reporting it.

Corn Crake

Friday, November 3, 2017

Heckscher State Park

There have been reports of 3 Hudsonian Godwits at Heckscher State Park - I checked one day with Snouty and only found one, then went the day after and saw 2.  (he had seen the third one before I arrived)  Also present were the continuing Long Billed Dowitcher and Golden Plover and a Pectoral Sandpiper that I did not see.  The Godwits were in bad shape, the adult has a problem with it's foot, and one of the 2 juveniles has tumors on it's face and leg.

Long Billed Dowitcher, Hudsonian Godwit
Golden Plover
TWO! Hudsonian Godwits

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Cold Spring Harbor

I wanted to try somewhere different so went to the north shore - saw a Kingfisher and immature Bald Eagle fly over St John's Pond.  I later saw the Bald Eagle further out of the harbor circling around.  I saw a goose that I initially thought might be a hybrid but turned out to be some domestic mix.

Bald Eagle
domestic goose
domestic goose

Sunday, October 29, 2017

South Shore Long Island

It was stormy today so figured try and do a seawatch and check the parking lots.  At Jones and Robert Moses there were some Lesser Black Backed Gulls, most were seen at Jones Filed 2.  Seawatch at Jones Field 6 and Robert Moses produced a good amount of Gannets close to shore and hundreds of scoters.  All heading east to west.  I chased a report and refound a Golden Plover and Long Billed Dowitcher at Heckscher Field 7 as well as a handful of fly by Royal Terns.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Jones Beach Coast Guard area

Decided to look for sparrows - when I arrived, another birder told me there was a Dickcissel by the hedgerow.  I found it on the Coast Guard property side of the fence, gave it some space and it landed on the grass on the park side of the fence.  I came around the other side of the hedgerow and the Dickcissel landed on the fence right next to me.  I slowly twisted my body and got some good photos.  The Dickcissel took off towards the parking lot where I relocated it for a couple of birders who saw it as a lifer.  Other highlights were 2 Meadowlarks I spooked up from the grass by the outer west end turnaround.


Friday, October 20, 2017

Jones Beach West End

Highlights were 2 Meadowlarks, White Crowned Sparrow, Royal Tern, Common Eider but the best birds for the day were the continuing Lark Sparrow and Clay Colored Sparrow at the outer West End turnaround.

White Throated Sparrow, Lark Sparrow
Clay Colored Sparrow

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Jones Beach West End

On the outer West End turnaround the Lark Sparrow continues and I found a sparrow which I later determined to be a Clay Colored Sparrow.  Note: I chose not the report the Lark Sparrow for personal reasons.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Jones Beach Coast Guard area

It's now "sparrow season" so I went to the Coast Guard area since Clay Colored and Lincoln's were reported yesterday - I walked around the hedgerow a few times, a little on the median and a little down the fisherman's path.  Lots of expected birds for this time of year - Yellow Rumps, Kinglets, Phoebes, Tree Swallows, some Palm Warblers.  Saw at least 2 pair of Surf Scoters off the north side of the sandbar, Swamp, Chipping, a Field and lots of Song Sparrows.  I might have seen a Clay Colored Sparrow - stood out from the Chipping Sparrows...One bird caught my eye turned out to be a Pine Warbler.  Highlight of the day was a Lark Sparrow that I found after thinking about Lark Sparrows.  (like my Wilson's Snipe locating method)

Friday, October 13, 2017

Jamaica Bay East Pond, Jones Beach Coast Guard

Went with Snouty to Jaybay to find a continuing reported Hudsonian Godwit but could not find it - most likely left day before we got there?  We did see a Stilt Sandpiper with a Long Billed Dowitcher together  - reminded me of the pair I saw some years ago - same pair? who knows...Went to the Jones Coast Guard hedge row and thought we saw Snouty's lifer Clay Colored Sparrow but turned out to be a "pale" Chipping Sparrow.  Luckily he saw one the next day.

Long Billed Dowitcher, Stilt Sandpiper

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Jones Beach West End

Lot of migrants passing through - they would only touch down briefly - Yellow Rumps, Savannah Sparrows, both Kinglets.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Robert Moses SP, Venetian Shores, Lindenhurst

I went by Venetian Shores a couple of times to see the Long Billed Dowitchers - there were about 7 or 8 among a large group of Yellowlegs.  There was a group of Black Skimmers, Laughing Gulls and Forster's Terns on the beach.  There were large numbers of Yellow Rumped Warblers passing through at Robert Moses.I also got a look at a Cape May Warbler.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Jamaica Bay East Pond

I went to the Jamaica Bay East Pond to find the continuing Avocet after missing it a couple of times.  While there weren't many shorebirds, I did find the Avocet as well as a Golden Plover and Little Blue Heron.

Little Blue Heron
Golden Plover

Friday, September 29, 2017

Robert Moses State Park

I met Snouty at Robert Moses after he successfully saw the Lark Bunting earlier in the morning.  I didn't see it again but did photograph a Wilson's Warbler. (first photo for me)

Wilson's Warbler

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Robert Moses State Park: Lark Bunting

Reported earlier in the day, this was the kind of thing I needed from my disenchantment from not seeing any lifers recently.  I refound the bird and it popped up a couple of times by the Field 2 volleyball area.  It was chased a couple of times by Song Sparrows - the white wing patches were obvious in flight.  I also went to the Jones Beach Coast Guard to look for a continuing Whimbrel but I didn't see it although I probably could've tried harder but the winds were too much for me.

Lark Bunting

Monday, September 18, 2017

Jones Beach Field 6, Alley Pond Park

Around this time I went to Alley Pond Park to chase a report of a Connecticut Warbler but did not find it.  At Jones Beach Field 6 I saw a group of terns that had about 6 Black Terns in it.  A Royal Tern was also on the beach.  Most of the beach was flooded from a storm over the ocean.

Black Tern (upper right)

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Massapequa Preserve

Lots of activity but was mostly limited to Robins, Blue Jays and Catbirds.  Highlights were a female Scarlett Tanager, a Black and White Warbler, a female Redstart and a Great Blue Heron.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Jones Beach West End

Went back to Jones Beach West End - similar to yesterday but also saw a Black Throated Blue Warbler.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Jones Beach West End

Most of the West End was dead - might be because some raptors are back: Merlin, a Kestrel and a Harrier.  There was one spot that had a lot of activity - was the poplars? to the west of the Coast Guard Station entrance.  I saw about 10 Cape May Warblers and lots of female Redstarts.  Also saw some Pewees and at least 1 Phoebe.  On the Coast Guard sandbar there were lots of Red Knots, Sanderings, Oystercatchers and several Dowitchers.

Cape May Warbler

Friday, September 8, 2017

Jamaica Bay East Pond, Hempstead Lake State Park: Yellow Bellied Flycatcher

Went with Snouty to the East Pond - as soon as we got out at the parking lot we saw a Least Flycatcher and Worm Eating Warbler.  At the pond, we saw a Caspian Tern, Blue Winged Teal, Laughing Gull and sandpipers. 

We looked around Hempstead Lake State Park for flycatchers and Snouty found and photographed one that was ID'd as a Yellow Bellied Flycatcher (lifer!) 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Hempstead Lake State Park

I started at HLSP around dawn and birded for almost 5 hours - Redstart females and Robins were very abundant - hightlights include 2, possibly 3 Yellow Throated Vireos, Canada Warbler, Chestnut Sided Warbler, good amount of Black and White Warbler, calling Eastern Wood Pewee and a flycatcher which I can best determine to be a Yellow Bellied Flycatcher.  Jones Beach and Southard's Pond were not particularly noteworthy.

Canada Warbler

Monday, August 21, 2017

Jamaica Bay East Pond, Hempstead Lake State Park

Went to J-Bay with Snouty to get in some shorebirding - there weren't much in numbers but we got some variety: Pectoral Sandpiper, Stilt Sandpipers, White Rumped Sandpipers, and Short Billed Dowitchers.

I later went solo to check out Hempstead Lake State Park and found a flycatcher that appeared to be a good candidate for a Yellow Bellied Flycatcher - unfortunately, it got chased away by a territorial Hummingbird - I went back the next day and didn't find the YB Flycatcher bu did find a Canada and Worm Eating Warbler.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Massapequa Preserve, Nissequogue River State Park

I went to Massapequa Preserve early in the morning - highlights were 2 Black and White Warblers, and a continuing Muscovy.  I went with Snouty to look for a reported Franklin's Gull the day before at the south shore beach lots but only saw Laughing Gulls.  We went to Nissequogue to look for Otters - didn't see them but found Northern Waterthrush, Wood Pewees and another empid that we couldn't ID - possibly a Wood Pewee but had a light colored chest.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Avalon Park and Preserve, EPCAL

I went back to Avalon to look for Indigo Buntings and Hummingbird Moths - I didn't see the moths, but did see a pair of Indigo Buntings.  I checked out EPCAL and the surrounding areas - highlights were ~6 Indigo Buntings, Wood Pewee, Red Tailed Hawk, Turkey Vulture, Great Crested Flycatchers, 1 Grasshopper Sparrow, House Wrens, Chipping Sparrows and fairly sure I saw a Blue Gray Gnatcatcher and a Pine Warbler.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Avalon Park and Preserve, Stony Brook, Caleb Smith, Blydenburgh Preserve

Went to Avalon - highlights were 7 young Ring Necked Pheasants, a group of Orioles (Baltimore), and a singing Blue Winged Warbler.  Stopped by Caleb Smith and Blydenburgh - highlight was a Louisiana Waterthrush!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Oceanside Marine Nature Study Area

I went to "J-Bay" to look for a reported Acadian Flycatcher but didn't have any luck...I didn't have much luck with shorebirds either - highlights were lots of egrets, a Green Heron and ~6 Hummingbirds on the west side.  This was the first time I've visited since the breach on the west side pond had been fixed.  I went to Oceanside mostly to look for a continuing reported Snow Goose, but didn't see it - highlight was seeing several Saltmarsh Sparrows.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Scalzi Riverwalk, CT: King Rail

There were reports of a continuing King Rail near Stamford so I took a chance with Snouty to go try and see it.  At first it seemed doubtful we would find it and we saw an entertaining Green Heron up close that kept our spirits up.  Long story short, we got the King Rail by working as a team and I yelled over to Snouty when I first spotted the bird creeping through the "brush" near the stream.  It came out in the open briefly before hiding in the weeds again.  Later reports suggested the King Rail was molting perhaps explaining why it was in such an odd location.  Also saw a nice looking Great Egret, Grackles, Swifts and Goldfinches.  A Red Tailed Hawk was overhead calling.  (Lifer #349 for continental USA)
King Rail
King Rail
King Rail
Green Heron
Green Heron (was going for an "artsy" photo)

Richard DeKorte Preserve, NJ

I visited Richard DeKorte Preserve/ Discovery Trail last year with Snouty where I got my lifer Least Bitterns, but wasn't able to get photos.  I got them this time - the birds were much more cooperative this time, perhaps because the tide was lower.  Also seen were many Marsh Wrens, Forster's and Least Terns, Lesser Yellowlegs, Least Sandpipers, Great Egret and Ruddy Ducks including one male in "ruddy" plumage.

Least Bittern
Least Bittern
Least Sandpiper
Marsh Wren

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Cupsogue County Park: Sandwich Tern

...perhaps I'm desperate to add to my lifer list but I had an opportunity to get out for a while so I took advantage of it...I had the choice of going to Prospect Park to see a nesting Acadian Flycatcher vs. a previous days report of a Sandwich Tern hanging around Cupsogue for a couple of days.  I really don't enjoy the drive/ trip to Prospect Park so I opted to go to Cupsogue thinking I might even see a black Black Tern.  My choice was enlightened with another birder's report that the Sandwich Tern was seen again that day...great.  I arrived with Snouty trying to find the tern in it's previously reported spot with no luck.  We saw some others birders on the sandbar/ island and determined it was Arie who Snouty called.  He had the tern in view but we could not see it from our vantage point.  A wonderful gentleman with a boat named Matt came over and picked us up and took us to the sandbar where I was able to view the tern with other birder's scopes and my own bins.  I didn't get a photo but got a good but distant view of the tern.  Special thanks to Matt.  I often miss out finding reported birds but this was one occasion where it seems the stars were aligned in my favor and I was just meant to see this bird.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Nickerson Beach: Brown Booby

Got a call from Snouty that a Brown Booby was just reported at Nickerson Beach - we headed over there and saw the bird on a Piping Plover cage on the west tern colony.  Unfortunately, it was getting attacked by terns.

Brown Booby

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Nickerson Beach: Arctic Tern

Went to Nickerson again - noticed a "different" looking juvenile tern.  With some help on Facebook bird ID pages, I was able to confirm it was my lifer Arctic Tern.

Arctic Tern (on left)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Jones Beach West End

After a couple of attempts I caught up with the continuing 2 Black Neck Stilts at the Jones Beach swale.

Black Necked Stilt

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Nickerson Beach

On June 6th there was a belated report of 2 Sandwich Terns but by the time I arrived they were gone,,,I just saw 3 Royal Terns.  On June 7th and 9 there were reports of an Arctic Tern (missed) and a Black Tern June 7th (missed)  The only uncommon tern I saw was a Roseate that was banded  I also saw some banded Oystercatchers - one ate a tern egg when all the terns took to the air for no apparent reason.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Spring Migration: Third Week of May

A lot of "good" birds were seen May 16th and 17th but on May 18th they all seemed to have moved on.  Notable birds were Bay Breasted Warbler males at Hempstead Lake SP and Washington park/ playground.  At HLSP I saw Canada Warbler, Black Throated Green, Black Throated Blue, Magnolia Warbler, Chestnut Sided Warbler female, Scarlett Tanager, Wood Pewee, ~12 Swainson's Thrushes, and a Least Flycatcher!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Spring Migration: Second week of May

Wasn't the best conditions for the normal peak time for spring migration - northwest winds surely prevented an influx of new migrants.  Summer Tanagers and Kentucky Warblers seemed to pop up but not much else.  The best sighting I had this week was a Tennessee Warbler at Hempstead Lake State Park that I got to see very well and up close.

My highlights:

Uplands Farm Sanctuary - Orchard Oriole, 2 Bald Eagles (high up)

Hempstead Lake State Park - Tennessee Warbler, Blackpoll, Orchard Oriole, FOS Red Eye Vireo, Redstart, Solitary Sandpiper

Massapequa Preserve - Yellow Billed Cuckoo, young Mourning Dove

Friday, May 5, 2017

Spring Migration - first week of May

Some highlights:
Hempstead Lake State Park:
Ruby Throated Hummingbird, Warbling Vireo, Blue Gray Gnatcatcher, Redstart, Northern Waterthrush, Eastern Kingbird, Great Crested Flycatcher

Massapequa Preserve:
Warbling Vireo, Blue Gray Gnatcatchers (1 pair at nest)

Lido Preserve:
Clapper Rails, 2 Short Billed Dowitchers

Jones Beach West End:
Worm Eating Warbler, Blue Grosbeak, single Black Skimmer at the Coast Guard sandbar

Blue Gray Gnatcatcher
Warbling Vireo
Clapper Rail (with Fiddler Crab)

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Alley Pond Park, Massapequa

Went to Alley Pond Park to try to find a reported Kentucky Warbler - did not see it but saw lots of FOS birds.  Notable birds: Scarlett Tanager, Black Throated Blue Warbler, Redstart, Yellow Warbler, Wood Thrush, likely Gray Cheeked Thrush, and Rusty Blackbirds.

Across the street from my house I saw 3 Yellow Rumped Warblers, Northern Parula, Baltimore Orioles, and an Eastern Kingbird.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Spring Migration: Jones Beach West End

Numbers were definitely up today - saw the continuing Bobolink, Blue Winged Warbler, Rose Breasted Grosbeak, Indigo Buntings, Blue Headed Vireo, Veery, Savannah Sparrow, good amounts of Catbirds and Chipping Sparrows.  A Summer Tanager was seen by the west turnaround but I could not find it.

Rose Breasted Grosbeak

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Spring Migration: Lido Preserve, Jones Beach West End

A modest amount of new birds - spent some time at Lido taking photos of the continuing Prothonotary Warbler - it was singing so maybe it will stick around for a while.  Also saw several Blue Headed Vireos, Black and White Warbler, Yellow Warbler.  At Jones Beach West End saw a single Black Skimmer on the sandbar, Red Throated Loon, Common Loons, Yellow Warblers, and several Indigo Buntings.  Lots of Boat Tailed Grackles everywhere by the water.

Boat Tailed Grackle
Prothonotary Warbler
Prothonotary Warbler
Blue Headed Vireo
Blue Headed Vireo
Black Skimmer