Tuesday, February 12, 2013

If Its Thursday I Must Be Birding #10

Continued reports of Dovekie and Black-headed Gull cropped up, year birds needed for myself and Earic Miller respectively, so we made a plan to go out to Montauk.

Out first stop was Kirk Beach, where there had been recent reports of the BH Gull. arriving in the parking lot we were both surprised to find a flock of 40 or so White-winged Crossbills! Ther had been both here for some tim, and there had ben no recent reports so it was amazing to find that they were persisting an still finding food to eat in the cones.

Another lingering species at his somewhat unlikely location were Redhatches. One was quite interesting as it hopped along on the ground; not the most likely of places to find this species. Of course, there were cones strewn about, but this one even dipped down into a storm drain for a bit! I wish I could have caught that on camera too.

Down the hatch?
Fort Pond was frozen, and the ocean was barren. No Gulls at all. We moved on.

At the Point, we viewed from the restaurant. Here to the ocean was pretty barren, not like years past with tremendous rafts of ducks. But here as elsewhere, we saw lots of White-tailed Deer.

Hey, you got suttin to eat?
Three were a few Common Eider about, as well as a few of all three Scoters. Out in the distance we easily saw Razorbills flying about; finding one resting on the water was not possible due to the chop and lighting at their favored distance from the shore. This extended to Dovekie as well - if there were any present our hopes were to find one in flight, but that did not come to pass.

W did observe some lounging behavior, a White-winged Scoter just off shore was preening, and with one leg up an out of the water, it appeared to be waving at us. Earic theorized that like scratching a dog's belly and it's leg moves involuntarily, this duck was triggering the same response as it preened itself.
Yoohoo, got any Scoter Snacks?

We tried vantages from along the rocks at the base of the light house, but the density of birds was the same. We then headed for Lake Montauk. Here the birds were far more cooperative. at South Lake Beach, we found a large raft of Scaup and Goldeneye close in to shore. We got on the Barrows quickly, and while I saw the female and tried to get Earic on it he somehow missed it.

Shortly thereafter, a boat came motoring in, and the noise put the birds up. We headed up east lake drive and explored, but overall it was very quiet. On the way back and on to WSTLake drive, we stopped at SOUTH Lake again, and relocated the male Barrows, as well as had the immature Black-headed Gull fly in and land right near us.

Yuck. This stiff tastes awful. Can you guys spare a french fry?
At the west jetty, Earic found an immature Iceland Gull. this side was far more populated, at least by Gulls. It could be due to the construction to replace the destroyed shore with boulders and sand, but at least there was a density somewhere. In the water was a smattering of Oldsquaw, , and one Great Cormorant claimed each of the stanchions at the ends of the jetties.

Imm. Iceland Gull
Later on, Earic found the adult Iceland Gull, but we found little else. We continued on to the Ice House Pond, which was one of the few fresh water locations that was not frozen over. Next to the two dimensional duck decoys in the lawn rested a good number of quackers with some Ring-necked Ducks on the pond. By far my favorite was the Pintail.

Pintail are graceful ducks in part due to their practice of Yoga

We continued on to Quail Hill Farm where the large flock of sparrows is still present in the grassy fields. The mix was not as varid as before, but still present were Field and Chipping, the latter a year bird for me. YB 1, 148 de l'annee.

Field Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
We walked the grounds a bit, but did not turn up anything unusual, just the expected wintering dicky birds. With light fading, we hit the road. and it hit back with a lot of traffic.

The slowdown was not without benefit though, as Earic looked over and saw a mess of Turkeys roosting in the treetops. He counted 25.

Turkeys in tree
Location of trees with Turkeys, outside Watermill.
A nice way to end the day, or pleasant diversion from the traffic.

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