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

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Timber Point Marina: Ruff

Not a lifer but there has been a Ruff reported on and off at Timber Point.  I had a lackluster day earlier so a mid-day report of the Ruff got me excited.  I drove over there in the rain and got lucky and saw the Ruff.  I've seen a Ruff before in New Jersey but this one was a lot more impressive looking.


Monday, April 24, 2017

Early Spring Migration

Just some notes from what I've been seeing recently, mostly FOS:
HLSP - 10 Rusty Blackbirds, Chipping Sparrows, Blue Headed Vireo, Yellow Throated Vireo, heard a Worm Eating Warbler, Northern Rough Wing Swallows, Tree Swallows, Barn Swallow

Glossy Ibis, Yellowlegs, Forster's Terns

Spring Migration: Hempstead Lake State Park

I went to HLSP to try to find a reported Worm Eating Warbler but only heard it.  Saw lots of swallow sp. and Chimney Swifts flying overhead, a pair of Great Horned Owl, and a Blue Headed Vireo.  My favorite bird of the day was my FOS Yellow Throated Vireo.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Lido Beach Preserve

There's been 3 reports of Prothonotary Warblers recently - one each in Brooklyn, Nassau and Queens.  I've seen one up close before in Jersey, but was in poor lighting and would have liked to get a decent photo.  A continuing one was reported again this morning in Lido Preserve so I headed over there ASAP.  I didn't have much time and wasn't finding the bird - no one else had seen it for about an hour, however I got lucky and saw it right before I was about to leave.  In the marsh I saw my FOS presumably Forster's Terns as well as a nice looking Yellow Bellied Sapsucker.

Prothonotary Warbler
Prothonotary Warbler
Yellow Bellied Sapsucker

King Eider

I've only seen a King Eider once before but was a female - got to see this male up close.  Beautiful bird.

King Eider
King Eider
King Eider

Boreal Chickadee

Lifer...very skittish compared to Black Capped Chickadees that were around.

Boreal Chickadee

Gray Jay

Lifer...after missing them twice before in the Adirondacks I was treated to great views of 5.  (groups of 3 and 2)

Gray Jay
Gray Jay

Spruce Grouse

Lifer bird...thought it would fly away but approached me and stuck around for some company.

Spruce Grouse

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Massapequa Preserve

What seemed at first to be a non-eventful day changed quickly when I found the Goshawk again - this is the 6th time.  Also seen were 6 Golden Crowned Kinglets, 3 Swamp Sparrows and a Great Egret.  2 Red Tailed Hawks were flying over the preserve and surrounding area most of the day.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Massapequa Preserve

I saw the Goshawk again today if only for a short time - it disappeared into the dense woods by Jerusalem Ave.  This is the 5th time I've seen it.

Northern Goshawk
Northern Goshawk

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Jones Beach West End, Massapequa Preserve

I checked out Jones Beach West End and was pleasantly surprised to find 6 Lapland Longspurs, some in good plumage, Fox Sparrow, Tree Sparrows and a continuing early Phoebe.  At Massapequa Preserve I checked on the Screech Owls and found the Grey one (the other day the red one was in the nest).  Also saw 2 Killdeer in the stream which I thought was unusual and a nice looking Wilson's Snipe!

Lapland Longspurs

Thursday, March 9, 2017


I got a text from another birder that they spotted the Goshawk by the Pittsburgh Pond so I drove along the preserve hoping it might be around.  I didn't find it but did see 2 Redtailed Hawks and a Sharp Shinned Owl.  After giving up I drove through my neighborhood and spotted what I assumed to be a Red Tailed Hawk land in a tree, but turned out to be the Goshawk!  It took off but I wasn't able to relocate it.  Also saw a Merlin in the neighborhood.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Massapequa Preserve

I went back to the preserve to look for the Goshawk without any luck.  I did find a Muscovy duck by the "Pittsburgh pond."

Monday, March 6, 2017

Massapequa Preserve: Goshawk part 2

So, long story short, I was able to get photos of the Goshawk later on. 

Northern Goshawk
Northern Goshawk
Northern Goshawk

Friday, March 3, 2017

Massapequa Preserve: Northern Goshawk

Following a post on Long Island Wildlife it became clear that an immature Goshawk had been seen in the northwest section of Massapequa Preserve last Sunday.  A post by a non-birder of a hawk on Monday may have also been the same bird (instead of a Cooper's Hawk).  I also realized that a "Cooper's Hawk" I saw recently by Parkside Drive being harassed by Blue Jays might actually have been this Goshawk. I tried unsuccessfully to find it yesterday (I did see a Merlin)  I tried again today with Snouty and we were very lucky to find it.  We tried looking in the areas NW and SW of the Walker Street parking lot and only found a Red Tailed Hawk that didn't seem to mind us.  We also saw a Yellow Bellied Sapsucker.  I figured we should search some areas of the preserve south of where we were, and decided to try by the "Doris Place" pond.  After almost giving up I looked to the west of the pond and saw the Goshawk perched.  Before I could get a photo it took off flying south into the woods, coming very close to the ground where we lost it.  Snouty focused on the prominent white patch above it's eye to confirm the ID.  The large size and proportion of the head to body also helped confirm the ID.  I'll try to find it again next time I visit - it's alarming to realize that if we didn't visit the Doris Place pond we would have missed it.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Oak Beach: Eared Grebe

So,,,there were new reports of the continuing Eared Grebe at Oak Beach by the NW corner of that area.  I figured it was the only potential life bird in the local area so I gave it another shot.  I've tried many times looking for Eared Grebes at this spot but today it finally paid off.  I walked up to Sore Thumb (the inlet) and only saw 2 Horned Grebes but on the way back right where I started I saw another grebe and could tell it was FINALLY the Eared Grebe.  I watched it a bit and got good looks at it and it even was snacking on a young eel.

Eared Grebe
Eared Grebe

Friday, February 24, 2017


I started my day hearing and seeing a Robin on the neighbor's lawn - Spring is coming.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Montauk, Hamptons, East End: Black Guillemot

There has been a continuing Black Guillemot in Montauk Lake as well as a Little Gull and Black Headed Gull at Ditch Plains.  The Little Gull had not been seen the day before but the Black Guillemot was so I figured I had a good chance of at least one lifer.  I saw the Black Guillemot (lifer #340) and got close to it by driving to the other side of Montauk Lake.  I stopped at a couple places looking for reported birds on the way back but seemed to miss them.  I had some consolation sightings of other birds so it still was a good day overall.  Highlights:

Montauk Lake: Black Guillemot, Common Goldeneye, Common Loons, Tree Sparrows
Deep Hollow Ranch: Blue morph Snow Goose
Ditch Plains: Bonaparte Gulls, Purple Sandpipers
Fort Pond: Redhead
Wainscott Pond: Sandhill Crane
Riverhead: Turkey Vultures
Swan Lake Preserve: Green Winged Teal, Great Blue Heron
Jones Beach: heard a Woodcock calling

Black Guillemot
Black Guillemot
Bonaparte Gull
Snow Goose
Sandhill Crane