Monday, March 18, 2013

Weekends Are For Going Crazy Birding Everywhere

Some trips fall together quite nicely. Others by definition do not work quite as well. A Long-eared Owl was found at the Marine Nature Study Center in Oceanside and had the bad manners to avail itself only on Friday. 

I attempted to see it Saturday March 16th on the way to work but it was a no show. On the way home I decided to try for Screech Owl in Caumsett STPK, and struck out there too! My only consolation was my FOY Osprey on the platform by the waters edge.

It gets worse though. Having missed the LEO Saturday, I made plans to try again Sunday, forgetting that MNSC is closed! Doh!

So I arrived to locked gates, and called Jean LeConte Sparrow and Earic Miller, still on their way,  to tell them of my blunder and suggested we meet instead at Hempstead Lake STPK.

I had heard reports that there were Blue-winged Teal being seen there, and that is the last duck I need for the year!  We arrived and searched as well as we could, and ran into Ken Fuestel who reported that he had not seen them either.

But we did have scads of Brown Creepers, often as many as 6 at a time, with birds chasing each other around the trunks of trees and from tree to tree. Ah, spring is in the air, but oh - to be chased by a creep{er}!

Brown Creeper

More highlights were a Fox Sparrow found bt Jean and 6 FOY Tree Swallows on the lake.

Fox Sparrow
Burning daylight in an ambitious day, we touched base with Cap'n Bob and Gary Strauss and met at the Mickey Deez to car poodle. First stop: Marshlands Conservancy in Rye. 

There had been reports of a female Evening Grosbeak there recently, but she was too demure that day. More accommodating were upwards of a dozen White-winged Crossbills munching on Sweetgum balls. 

White-winged Crossbill eating Sweetgum

A Goldfinch facing away fooled a couple of us and we thought we had the EVGR but it turned out not to be so. Other niceties were Hairy wp, both nuthatches, and 20+ turkeys that ran by the visitor's center.  

No, these are not the Turkeys at the visitor's center.

Hairy Woodpecker
Moving on, we set the controls for the heart of the sun. Having left behind my Pink Floyd CD, we instead set the controls for the New Paltz area.

Arriving in the small town of Highlands NY, we drew near to the flooded forest along Weston Road, and no sooner had we stopped than I spotted our quarry: a beautiful Red-headed WP! 

Red-headed Woodpecker
Everyone was very pleased with the sighting, something difficult not to do when it comes to this woodpecker.

But Bob had to head home as he was off to Florida for a few days. Poor Bob. We all crammed into Gary's car to continue our day's tour. 

The synchronicity of our last visit to the region was despoiled when we learned that Tundra Swans had been found in the same location as the  Pink-footed Goose a few days later - but out of reach of another attempt until this day. En route, we encountered Bald eagle and Bluebird.

Arriving at the Camel Farm,  it was pretty devoid of geese. we drove around and explored many areas, but the goodies had for the most part appeared to have moved on. 

Having known from the last time that day length meant that the Short-eared Owls would be coming out later in the day, we timed our departure such that we would arrive at Shawangung Grasslands NWR without having to wait a longtime. 

We drove past the NWR entrance as we always do of late, only to find the Galeville town park closed. It is being stripped of trees so they can put in baseball fields. Mind you, everyone concerned knows that no one lives near enough to make use of it but it seems the local politicians are set on building them anyway. 

We back-tracked to the old entrance and parked, finding out that a new lot is now available at the edge of the grasslands. With darkness falling, we saw many SEOs out in the fields, and Earic { who else } called our attention to the peenting of Woodcocks. 

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