Monday, January 19, 2015

Head ~East~ Young Man

Had Horace Greeley been present, he would surely have said the above.  The second of our two QCBC annual Montauk trips took place yesterday January 18, 2015. People are always ‘interested’ and at the same time reluctant to commit due to ‘weather’.  Three bailed because of family obligations and others I’m sure didn’t like the forecast.

The weather however was fine, better in fact than back home! The black ice conditions were not present out east and it was balmy and the wind held off for a good part of the day, and the rain didn’t start until after we were seated for dinner!

Starting at the point we were all disheartened to see two hunting boats out in the ocean to blast the ducks. Common Eiders were still present in good numbers despite being shot at. Compared to last year with massive rafts of thousands, there were much less of all three Scoters, but White-winged were present for YB1. Common Loons were out in force all around; a big contrast to how the prominent specie is Red-throated Loon further west and on the south shore. Of course there were Red-breasted Mergansers, and Horned Grebe as expected, but most pleasing were the hoped for Razorbills estimated at 70, which had been portended by the three present at Point Lookout Saturday. We also had a few Gannets, YB2, which have been somewhat scarce.

Moving on to Camp Hero, we saw the same from the bluffs, and headed to the picnic location after a remarkably quiet drive through the grounds. Much of the dickie birds expected were neither seen nor heard. This was excepted by a large flock of Robins which included a few Cedar Waxwings in their midst. YB3.

Before taking a seat to consume our repast, we walked down the path past the decommissioned batteries. A lone gorgeous male Purple Finch sat motionless and posed nicely in a tree for us all to gawk at. YB4. Back at the picnic tables, we sat in the unseasonably comfortable temps to consume our victuals.

Our next stop was the east jetty. I lamented that the hoped for Great Cormorants did not appear to be stationed on the jetty’s navigation towers, but Rich Kelly pointed out that the two white lumps were in fact immature Great Cormorants. Yay! YB5.

Other birds appeared in similar representation and dispersion. Though at first glance it appeared that we would dip on the Sand-purples, I walked out the jetty and lo and behold three were doing their thing on a small rock next to the water. Yay! Another hoped for species and YB6. 

Walking back to the cars, I mentioned to Ian: “ Remember that time we had a Redpoll in the grasses here”...  We proceeded to our next stop South Lake Drive.

At the south end, we found the Common Goldeneye flock, but alas, could not pick out a hoped for Barrows. Oh well, we were doing pretty so far, what’s one miss?

Continuing on to the west jetty, the obligate Iceland Gulls were present. In fact we ended the day with 7!  And before we left here a small bird flew past Nancy and landed on Primrose and began to chow down. She pointed it out to others who exclaimed: “REDPOLL!”  I waved manically at Pat and Rich who where being lazy in the car, for them to join us, and we all got killer looks at the accommodating winter finch. This was especially pleasing as I had earlier checked email and learned that a flock of Redpoll had been found at Tiana Beach. Of course we were planning to head to Shinnecock, but now the pressure was off. Yay!  YB7 and an example of the ‘casual incantation law’. 

Common Redpoll
We made a few more stops around Fort Pond, but the ice cover made it less than ideal. A notable discovery however, was a DC Cormorant on one of the small ponds with the Hooded Mergansers; the former an excellent find for this time of year in Montauk.

We also stopped at Kirk Beach. This place had been an unexpected hot spot in previous years because Crossbills enjoyed the pine trees there. Well, no need to worry about that anymore; the town removed the islands that had housed the trees within the lot, to make room for more parking spaces. Dang. But we got out to investigate here briefly, and while looking at the dunes I spied a flock of small birds.  The lot of us climbed to the top, and the movement once again caught my eye. More Redpolls! It seems that overnight they had invaded our area in multiple places. Yay!

On the road again, I had told the others to be on the lookout for Turkeys, as they are present in the woods. The Turkeys did not disappoint, and we found a group feeding beside the road. YB8.

Arriving at Shinnecock, we found more of the afore mentioned Iceland Gulls, but search as we could, the Glaucous evaded us. The wind had pick up dramatically by this time, and made scanning much more difficult. But with intel from Mike Cooper { or is that Mike Sharpie, I have difficulty telling them apart ;) } we searched for and succeeded in locating the King Eider.

With light fading, some of us made a last ditch effort to search the ditches for Bitterns and the Snowy Owl. Neither. So we headed back to the restaurant to join the others who passed on birding in the dark to enjoy an excellent meal, and be sheltered from the heavy rain that we had the good fortune to miss up until this point.

Sighting Record Listing - 1/18/2015 - 1/18/2015

47 records

Canada Goose                        
Mute Swan                           
American Black Duck                 
Ring-necked Duck                    
Greater Scaup                       
King Eider                          
Common Eider                        
Surf Scoter                         
White-winged Scoter                 
Black Scoter                        
Long-tailed Duck                    
Common Goldeneye                    
Hooded Merganser                    
Red-breasted Merganser              
Wild Turkey                         
Red-throated Loon                   
Common Loon                         
Horned Grebe                        
Northern Gannet                     
Double-crested Cormorant            
Great Cormorant                     
Great Blue Heron                    
Red-tailed Hawk                     
American Coot                       
Purple Sandpiper                    
Bonaparte's Gull                    
Ring-billed Gull                    
Herring Gull                        
Iceland Gull                        
Great Black-backed Gull             
Rock Pigeon                         
Mourning Dove                       
Northern Flicker                    
Blue Jay                            
American Crow                       
Black-capped Chickadee              
American Robin                      
European Starling                   
Cedar Waxwing                       
Song Sparrow                        
Red-winged Blackbird                
Purple Finch                        
Common Redpoll                      

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

LOL I just got the Mike Cooper/Sharpie joke! I am SURE he has NEVER heard that one b4 ;)