Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Its Not Easy Being Greedy

It was towards the end of the day on Saturday April 18th, having done non birding things until heading home, that I saw the sigh warning of the approach of Connetquot state park. Wanna stop?

It really is quite a beautiful park. We took a short walk by the lake, and got a Barn Swallow YB1. Further along, we got Blue-grey Gnatcatchers for YB2. Overall, it was not that birdy, but it’s picturesqueness more than made up for that.

We ended up by the feeders, and had Chipping Sparrows, and then stopped to talk with the caretaker. While doing so, I noticed a creeper like bird on the side of the building. It was a Yellow-throated Warbler! So they have returned, Yay! I saw the one at Valley Stream recently, not wanting to presume this bird would return but apparently they like the place very much.  One can only hope that thy will infest Long Island with breeding pairs.

Yellow-throated Warbler
The next day, we again had things to do, but fantastical reports tore us away. First was Ed Thrasher’s discovery of a male Western Tanager, and then Phil Jabiru’s spotting of the Tricolored Heron. What to do. What to do.

We raced own the highway only to get waylaid by local traffic on the way to the Marine Nature Study Center.  Though Phil had had it 20 min before, we arrived to the news that Snowy Egrets chased it off. WTF? We scanned and looked as best we could, but once more it eluded us. We did score YB’s Fosters Term, Glossy Ibis, Snowy Egret, and Greater Yellowlegs though.

We then back tracked to Jones Beach, hearing the bird has been cooperatively staying in one spot eating willow buds. We walked out to the median to join the other birders who told us that it just flew off. Doh!

We joined them in searching, for 10-15 minutes before Sy Schiffornis told us he relocated the Western Tanager at the turn around. Prior to that, we were entertained by a most confiding Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet  {AKA Rublet}
We headed to the area Sy mentioned and looked and looked, checking budding trees. Arlene Rails saw movement in a shrub, but it was a Brown Thrasher. Not the bird we were after, but a YB. 

We continued along and then Arlene found another bird, this time it was the Tanager! Several of us got looks, and alerted others nearby, but it flew off before I could press the shutter release or they could trundle on over. Much searching ensued, but that was unfortunately the last it was seen.

We searched here and there, and looked for other birds. We headed out the the fisherman lot, and found Common Terns for another YB and a breeding plumaged Common Loon.
Common Loon
Never one to quit too easily, I suggested we try Lido for a possible {and hopeful} heron discovery. We were not disappointed, though we were a bit frozen by the arctic blast of wind. Sheltered it was quite pleasant, but exposed to the full force of the wind and exposed fingers hurt! 

When not whining about the cold wind, I managed to spot many a heron in my scope, including a Little Blue. Not too shabby.

The sun was setting, and it was time to go. We proceeded on to the loop parkway and shortly spied a raptor hovering over the marsh. I made a hasty pull over onto the shoulder. Looking back over our shoulders, we watched the bird stick in one spot. And then it wavered a bit revealing its identity as a Rough-legged Hawk, lingering well beyond its usual migration departure date.  What a nice cap to the day.

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