Monday, April 15, 2013

A Glorious Spring Weekend 4-13 & 14

The past Thursday was spent on catching up on things necessary for home, and I got a lot done in my yard. The weather was less than optimal, and no agonizing bird reports came in so that was good too.

Saturday I set about playing catch-up with a number of reported birds. I contacted Capt’n Bob with a plan. Phase one we would seek out the Louisiana Waterthrush at Oakland Lake that only Steve Walnut is amazed that interest continues upon. In fact I arrived to find quite a crowd about this bird. It turns out that there may be as many a three there, but I was shown the closer one by Capt’n Bob, getting YB 175 and then YB 176 in Barn Swallow, before all heck breaking loose.

Okay, so its a bad shot of an LA Waterthrush..
First I got a call from Dave Klauber, and then Derek Rogers alerting me to a Ruff at Timber Point Golf Course. Wow! Phase two, in which Bob and I would go after the Purple Finch {discovered by Dr. Pinky at Hoyt Farm in Commack, because he wanted to kill time on the way to the dentist!} was put on hold.

So a lot of calls flew about to Garouse and Earic and a bunch of others. After a lot of seeming confusion, Bob and Garouse headed out to meet me at my house, and Earic and Steve Schellenger hopped in my car for the trip. We car pooled from there on, heading to the Ruff.

We arrived and went to the wrong marina, but back-tracked and found a phalanx of birders on the dock looking at the bird. It was walking in the grass, therefore difficult to see. I did score Glossy Ibis and Snowy Egret while waiting for a view though, for Ybs 177 and 178. The Ruff was at first secretive, only popping out its head for brief looks, but in short order it capitulated by changing locations and giving better looks. YB 179. The Yellow-legs must be real camera-sluts because they pretty much stayed out in unobscured view most of the time.

A Nice Male Ruff in the ruff

Satisfied, we took off for Hoyt Farm. We arrived to find a sign posted in the parking lot that town resident stickers were required. But an inquiry to a park employee and I was told that they ‘welcome’ birders, and that we were invited to go find the birds.

A short walk up the trail had a set of feeders. A few birds were around, but more were in the trees waiting for the people visiting the pigs in their enclosure, to leave. We perused the birds and found a nice variety including both Nuthatches, Junco, and the more common stuff. Several House Finches were in the trees, and we picked through them. I short order I found the bird! It was gorgeous in the bright sunlight. YB 180!

Purple Finch
Three out of three birds! We stopped for lunch at Friendly’s which seems to be an unusually available place recently. Garouse generously picked up the tab for all of us, and we then headed back...

Earic and I had to be back in Queens for a party that evening, and as we were headed down the Sagtikos pkwy, I got a call from Derek Rogers that Yellow-throated Warblers { Two! } were found singing right by the Connetquot River STPK. Parking lot. Having missed the one earlier in the week at Hempstead Lake STPK., I was psyched!

We detoured and headed there, and did our best to hear or see the bird. No dice. And it was getting late. We gave it a good shot but could not locate the bird apparently seen not more than 15min prior. Oh well.

We beat a hasty retreat to my place so I could get ready, and Bob gave the others a ride back to Queens. Both Earic and I arrived late to the party, neither of our girlfriends too happy { a euphemism...} about it. For my part Jean forgave me rationalizing that I had to be cut some slack as I am doing a big year. Phew. Laura had more of a “if looks could kill” greeting for me....

The party was very nice, and the next morning Jean and I took it slow, planning to do a bit of local Queens birding. We were set to meet AvIan at Kissena park, when on the way an email came through that the Ruffs had been relocated!

We all decided to meet out there instead, and the Ruffs did not disappoint! Now there were two! We got great looks and then walked around trying to locate the Black Brant. we found an impressive flock, but none of us could pick out the Black Brant if it was with the others.

The Second Ruff Theory
Ruffs in Flight

Afterwards we went to Connetquot River STPK. and again had much better luck. Other birders were present and looking, and Jean heard the bird call. While everyone else stayed back ca. 100 feet from the wooded edge, I walked closer as I thought the bird was further in.

I was correct, and I waved the others on to get their looks. Yes! YB 181. 

Yellow-throated Warbler

If that is not enough, while we are at Connetquot, we get a call from Danny Melore reporting he has just found a YT Warbler at Alley Pond Park! I posted the sighting to the list and a lot of folks who missed the Hempstead Lake bird were able to get this one.

But wait, there's more! Today I was told that a third YT Warbler was found at Connetquot! Holy Cow! what a year for YT Warblers and Ruffs and... !!!

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