Friday, January 18, 2013

If Its Thursday I Must Be Birding #7

There is a lot of good stuff around, and so little time to get to see it. It also appears { for better or worse } that I am doing a 'Big Year' of sorts.

My plan for 1-17-13 was to have Earic Miller and Bob Hayes come out to Belmont Lake stpk, where I would meet them and we would try to find Barney { the reclusive Barnacle Goose} for Earic's year list. 

We searched the lake, but try as we might, could not find it. Earic located a Winter Wren by sound { which neither Bob or I could hear } but we coaxed it out and all got great looks. We also had great looks at a Hairy Woodpecker, and they had a look at a Creeper. 

We then went over to St Charles Cemetery where we found a weird looking goose: perhaps partially leucistic, perhaps a hybrid. Target wise, we struck out without so much as a Cackling Goose or a White-fronted, let alone a Bare Knuckle. 

Canada / GWF Hybrid?  Note pink bill and legs

We then tried Beth Moses Cemetery where Earic's previous Chipping Sparrows could not be relocating before I tried a new vantage point for the golf course. At the corner where Wellwood and Long Island Avenues meet, is a section of cemetery that borders the golf course and allows a few good vantage points.

Lots of geese, but no dice. Ironic - as chasing rarities is such a gamble. So off to our next stop we went, Massapequa Preserve. We could not relocate the Snipe, but along the way I spished out a Goblet  and then got on a creeper [ year bird! ]

We went to another section of the preserve to find a Wood Duck I had gotten before, but again we could not find it. Half way around I realized my phone was still in my car so I went to retrieve it while Earic and Bob continued in hopes of getting lucky.

Upon my return, a hawk came flying up the center of the pond and my bins revealed it to be a Red-shouldered Hawk! [ year bird 2 ] I took some rapid shots, but the back-lighting was very bad and all that is discernible are the 'windows'. 

Poorly lit Red-shouldered Hawk. Note 'windows'

I called and alerted Earic and Bob, and they were not amused that they missed it.  But walking up the trail Earic spotted a Rusty Blackbird which allowed nice close views, and year bird 3!

"We're burning daylight!" was the mantra du jour, so we left for hopefully greener pastures. We made a pit stop at Abe's Pitaria for a gyro: a great place discovered a short time ago, and then on to Jones Beach. 

Stopping at field 10, both Earic and I { or at least me } were thrown by a young Red-tailed Hawk that was seen hovering; making us think that it was a Rough-legged Hawk. After it landed a better look through scopes revealed it was not.  

Continuing on down the road, I spied a Hermit Thrush [ year bird 4 ] and came to an abrupt stop, just as Bob was not paying attention. His breaks are in working order though.   ;) 

At the west end, the Longspur was not around, and it seemed Earic could not get a break. On our way out we saw a birder stopped on the side of the road and she had Red Crossbills, always a bird worth stopping for. Other than that Jones Beach was a bust. So on to Point Lookout.

No one here but us pine cones.
A Common Loon was spotted by Earic close to the jetty and allowed very confiding looks. It had several color coded bands on its legs and I was able to get some photos. I found this website: and sent them the information. I hope that I hear back from them soon. 

Speaking of hearing back, I got back two 'certificates of appreciation' from the USGS & Canadian Wildlife Service.  these were for throat bands on geese seen a week ago while looking for the Tufted Duck in Huntington Harbor.

We walked to the jetty and down the beach but no Harlies. I had them a short time ago before the new year, what's up with them? This had always been a very reliable spot - though they have been seen elsewhere around the island recently. 

Earic and I walked the beach while Bob rested. We went to the third jetty where we had a flock of 15 or so Common Eider, but no King Eider amongst them nor any Harlies.

With daylight a wasting, we made haste for Jamaica Bay. Would the Snowy still be there?  Well... so we walked out to the breach, found about a half dozen Pintails [ year bird 5 ] in the west pond, and then walked around the other way. 

Along the way a photographer struck up a conversation with us; he too searching for the Owl. He boasted about his 800mm and 1200mm lenses and while hoping the bird lingered, I mentioned that I hope it is spared the fate of the bird that was at Jones Beach last year. 

He seemed to be of the opinion that the photographers were not harassing that bird, so I pointed out that they freely admitted to running at the bird to flush it and make it fly so they could get flight shots. This prompted him to go off on a tirade about the sick bastards who band birds and put collars on their necks, stating that there is no reason to do so. I offered that they are put there by the government and by universities so that they can study and track population and migration trends, and not as part of some sort of hobby, so he replied that no one should be living on the Rockaway peninsula because their houses displaced a lot of birds and they got what they deserved with super-storm Sandy.

At that point I made double time to get away from this kook. Stopping by where bench 13 used to be I spied a Greater Yellowlegs, [ year bird 6 ] and called Earic to let him know one of his targets for the day had actually been found. 

At this point Bob was shot, and we headed back to the cars. We took a last look out at the platform from the visitor's center, and then Bob departed while Earic and I decided to go out to the breach again.

Walking out to the breach it was rapidly getting dark, and who do we find out there but some birdingdude. He had the Owl queued up in his scope way off in the distance on the spoil island that they are restoring. Not the best look, but hey, year bird 7 and a heck of a lot better than dipping. 

I am now at 125 birds for the year so far. 

No comments: