Monday, April 27, 2015

Weak End Birding

Am I the only one who thinks that sometimes there is not enough time to bird? So finding time Saturday afternoon I made a couple of stops nearby. Southwards Pond is usually good this time of the year, but it was quiet except for a Spotted Sandpiper that made for a nice YB.

Spotted Sandpiper
After comparing notes, I decided to try a bit further afield for Prothonotary Warbler in Eastport. Arlene Rails had not had the opportunity to see the one (two?) in Brooklyn, so it was a good choice. We arrived on site to find Bob Prothonotary ( who else ) , Bob Neo Tropical Cormorant, and Ed Thrasher. We all searched for a longtime but without success. Later, Ken & Sue Kestrel showed up and they were no luckier. The location was quite scenic, and Jim Ostrich who stopped by briefly told me the pond on the opposite side of the bridge was a great place for waterfowl in the winter. Who knew? I had been nearby many times and never been here. A new birding location!

Fresh on our defeat, we headed back, with a planned stop at Smith Point on the way for some goodies reported recently. Who doesn’t like a Blue Grosbeak? It seemed to be one of those “where all da bird be at” days. So with no other choices we perused the gull flocks in the lot. Why is it that if you stop to look at gulls in a lot folks have to drive thru the flock to pass rather than passing on your other side which would be just as expedient?

As hoped for, I picked out a young Lesser Black-backed Gull. Smaller than the Herring Gulls, and larger than the Ring-bill Gulls, roosting with them made size comparisons that much easier. It was transitioning from first to second year, with a dark mantle coming in. Gave pause was pink legs and almost totally black bill. The legs were okay, but the bill should have had more pale at the base. Oh well, stupid bird didn’t read the field guide.

2nd Year Lesser Black-backed Gull
Sunday morning we decided to try Jones Beach. On the drive in I got my first YB with a flyover Least Tern. We proceeded to the west end. So many good birds had been found recently that when it was devoid of other birders I began to wonder how it is that some birders always seem to know the right place to be. I may have to resort to water boarding as nobody’s talking.

We checked the blooming willows, hoping that the Cape May might still be around, but there were only y-rumps. They were joined by a lot of ‘brush’ birds, singing Towhees seemed to be everywhere. The Robins were noisy too, and I saw my first Catbird for YB2. But the best bird was an enthusiastic Thrasher up in the tallest cottonwood. It was up there for most of the time we were. Its not very often you get one out in the open like that.

We walked towards the turnaround, and had a few interesting birds most of which flew by or didn’t linger long enough to cinch an ID, and in addition to a House Finch, had Purple finch. On the outside of the turnaround we saw a few small warbleresque birds fly into the pines, but we could not relocate them. Searching for a while, suddenly we heard someone either call out my name or Harry. Investigating, it was Ed Thrasher by himself, alerting us to a Blue Grosbeak he had just found. Nice! YB3.

I took a few shoots and we all stayed with the bird while Ed called others. Many assembled, but somehow the bird slipped away.

young Blue Grosbeak
On the way to the car we saw a Merlin to add to a Coopers Hawk seen earlier. Then we were told of a possible Prairie Warbler by the lot and we figured it was worth a shot. Didn't find it, but there was a very cooperative and singing Field Sparrow. 

Field Sparrow

There was not much else save the lingering Brant. They should presumably, have departed by now. Oh well, an early departure on my part to do stuff at home; at least the birds were not keeping me there.

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