Avian, Dunlin, and I met in the morning to go to the Bronx to catch up on some goodies and see what else we could find. The birding gods cooperated splendidly; it was far more birdy than anticipated, especially with the harsh weather recently. In fact the birds were in a manner uncharacteristically confiding. White-throated Sparrows would hop up but only go 3-4 feet away, and even fly towards locations by us.
The Towhees, Titmice, and Fox Sparrows were very welcome, and kept us company on the way to locating a Long-eared Owl. We also looked for Barred Owl that we could not find, but had great looks at Brown Thrasher enjoying the sunshine as much as we did.
Next we tried for Great Horned Owls which we found in numbers and so easily before the new year. At the head of the trail, Avian casually remarked that this was usually a good spot for American Tree Sparrow, and lo and behold, a few minutes later there was one 2 feet away munching on weed seeds. We were so close and the bird did not seem to care! Of course, I wanted to travel light and did not bring my camera, informing Avian and Dunlin that this of course meant that they would be capturing some fine shots. Sadly though, Dunlin's camera was left on an improper setting, and what should have been great were less than so. Oh well, the eye candy was nice either way.
We had a spectacular walk, that turned into quite a strenuous effort thanks to the snow. But it was not without goodies as in addition to the care-free Tree Sparrow, a Red-shouldered Hawk flew by, and we had nice close looks at an Eurasian Wigeon.
After finally returning to the car famished, we set off for lunch while learning that the Barnacle Goose was still present on Randall's. We scarfed, then set off on our wild goose chase! Arriving on site we were surprised that there were not any birders visible. But then we spotted 3 birders heading off, and they confirmed that the bird was present. I ran off to find it while Avian and Dunlin layered up.
The large flock of Canada Geese was on the field and easily and closely viewed from under the Hell Gate railroad bridge. As I scanned from a prudent distance, Dunlin walked right up to the fence near the geese and they didn't spook and fly off. As a result she also found the Barnacle Goose which was up close and just behind the concrete stanchion. Was it the phase of the moon or alignment of the planets? No matter, I was enjoying closer than usual views of all the birds today.
|Barnacle Goose on Randall's Island|
I got a few pix with my phone, and satisfied, we decided to go for the Mew Gull that had just been reported as having arrived at its favored roost. We were happy that the goose was present on the field instead of further away in the water, but irony is a wicked mistress, and as we entered the bridge on-ramp to Queens, I received a post that a Red-necked Grebe had been located in the water where the geese had originally been located. Doh! But too late to do anything about it.
So we made our way to Brooklyn, battling traffic for the ten mile trip that seemed much further as a result. And wouldn't you know it, a report came in that the bird had flushed and flown down the shore about 15 minutes prior to our arrival. We scanned and looked for some time anyway, hopeful of its return, but it never came back. Oh well. A great day out birding nevertheless. Year birds at 105.