I led a QCBC trip on Saturday January 14, 2017 with an excellent turnout of 11 participants. Pat Aitken, Nancy & Lou Tognan, Ian Resnick, Bob Hayes, John Gaglione, Steve Schellenger, Bill Weissman, Charlotte Miska, Arlene Rawls, Rich Kelly, Laura Weir, and Maria: a guest visiting from Virginia.
Scheduling of this trip had been fraught with problems initially, because the ongoing beach and sea wall construction had the potential to cancelling or at least relocating the outing. Recent reminders that winter was in fact upon us could also have kept birders of a lesser god at home.
The day turned out to be gorgeous, with almost no wind at all. This meant that the ocean was flat flat flat. Those of us who did not go on the winter pelagic that had been rescheduled to this same day might have thought they missed out based upon the favorable conditions, but we had a great day nevertheless and a great mix of species.
At the park at the end of Lido Blvd, we began by seeing impressive numbers of Brant. In the past, the inlet was known for its impressive numbers of Bonaparte’s Gulls but we did not see a single one. Expected sightings were Oldsquaw, many Red-throated Loons, a few Common Loons, and Red-breasted Mergansers.
By the jetties we had Common Eiders, and Horned Grebes. But the celebrities were an Eared Grebe and a Red-necked Grebe. On the water was not the only place with goodies though. While looking at the grebes, we discovered numerous sandpipers hiding on the rocks of the second jetty. The first ones were obvious: Sanderlings. While studying them, a few Dunlin were discovered. But surprises hiding under our noses were three Ruddy Turnstones, and one Purple Sandpiper.
Exploration was cut a bit short when we were asked to leave by the local safety officer, so we moved on to our next stop, the Lido preserve. It was lack luster, so we went to Nickerson beach on word of a Cackling Goose. That turned out to be a wild goose chase, though we did find a Horned Lark.
After a coffee stop, we explored Jones Beach west end. Oystercatchers and Black Scoter were a nice add, as were Flicker and a very unexpected Hermit Thrush. A lone flyover Tree Swallow was also a surprise, but a hoped for owl or two did not materialize.
Not known for saying “lets quit” I led the troops to Cammann’s Pond for the delight of a Black-headed Gull. It did not disappoint. We also had nice close looks at Shovelers and Gadwall, but by this point some were getting hungry or had to depart. A few went around the neighborhood to track down the Monk Parakeets we were hearing, while the rest of us went to Hendrickson park for some more rarities.
The Pink-footed Goose was easy to find, and always a pleasure to see. We also helped two random birders find the bird; one from out east, and another visiting from Virginia. We also found and showed them the Red-headed Woodpecker.
At this point, the trip came to an end for our club and we broke for the day. On the other hand Arlene and I made a last minute decision to bolt upstate to Nyack and try for the Trumpeter Swan. Despite the snow we succeeded and capped the day nicely.
Sighting Record Listing - 1/14/2017 53 records
Great Black-backed Gull
American Black Duck
Nyack Beach STPK ROCKLAND