Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Bienvenue 2017 Grande Année

I’ve somehow gotten sucked back in. Last year I laid low, or as low as I could manage because you know, White Wagtail in New Hampshire, and I did enjoy myself in California, but I ended the year with a paltry 265 for NYS.

But I am back in the saddle again. I began by doing a third CBC for the season on January  1st in the South Nassau circle. A notable get was Blue-winged Teal picked out by Earic Miller.

The next day had a similarly disturbingly early start for a trip out to Montauk Point with Arlene Rails. We scored all the sea ducks as expected, as well as lots of Razorbills. But the other goodies previously especially the Kittiwakes reported remained elusive.
Sunrise on the way to Montauk
Other highlights were an Iceland Gull at the inlet, as well as another at Shinnecock on the way home. The Harlequins at Shinnecock were a treat as well. I can remember when Point Lookout was the only place to get them.
Iceland Gull
Today, I planned on making a sweep of the goodies found before the new year, that had hung around. My plan was to start at points west, and work my way back. The highway had other thoughts however, and rather than sit in traffic I bailed at Wellwood to try for the Barnacle Goose at Colonial Springs golf course.

After parking by the train station, I made my way half way across the lawn when I  crossed paths with Stan Fantail... Did you get the bird I asked? “No, they are all flying out”. Oh I replied, but did you check by looking through the fence to the golf course? “No, I didn’t bother, so I’m heading to the cemetery. This is my third trip here without success”

Discouraged, I reconsidered and also turned around and we walked back to our cars; I was planning on stopping here on my way back anyway. Stan headed off, and that’s when I saw a flock circling above with a demonstrably smaller member. They were looking like they were coming in for a landing! Traffic prevented me from returning to the spot by the train station so I darted into the small area on Wellwood that is gated off. I put my bins up and saw the Barnacle goose on the lawn ahead of me!

Satisfied with my look, I headed to try and catch up to Stan, but could not locate him. I called Bob Prothonotary thinking he might know Stan’s cell#. Nope. Stan didn’t have one. Doh!

Bob was also helpful in providing details on the Red-headed Woodpecker that was at Hendrickson Park, where I was seeking the Pink-footed Goose and Cackling Goose as well. Walking the pond, I was not successful with the waterfowl. And then a text came in from Phil Jabiru: “Is that you on the other side of the pond”? We joined up, and gooseless, we went for the woodpecker which was right where he was supposed to be. I let Bob know we found the woodpecker and of our lack of success with the geese.

We saw a sapsucker by our cars, and then headed off to try for the Black-headed Gull at Cammann’s Pond. Mind you, everyone including non-birders, the blind, and some deceased folks had no trouble finding this gull, and were reporting that the bird was right there when they pulled into the lot. This is in direct opposition to the disturbingly embarrassing number of times Arlene and I had tried for it and failed. Embarrassing I tells ya.

So Phil and I each pulled up, and looked about. Nada. The fellow sitting in the car next to me rolls down his window and asks if I’m looking for the bird, and says its right in front of me, and even offers ID tips. 

It was not. I tell Phil as he rolls down his window. Mind you, it was a rainy day so getting out of the car was undesirable. While I muttered ‘it figures’ to myself, I began to scan the shore further south, and spotted the bugger! Apparently the 215th time is the charm...
Black-headed Gull, not figment of imagination

With other prospects back towards home, I headed that way while Phil called it a day. I also made a pit stop to pick up some items. Good thing I did. Bob called again and informed me that Ed Thrasher had stopped at Hendrickson, and he saw the geese fly back in!

Naturally, I returned. Bob and Ed were there and Pinky was spotted. There was also a bird that some thought was the Cackling, but I remained unconvinced.
Pink-footed Goose

Next I headed to Robert Moses where reports that a fox was frequenting the turnaround and making the Ross’s geese scarce. Interestingly, the small group of Canadas were not quite as concerned, and they were still in the area. But no Ross’s. Dang. Where did they go? A search did not turn them up, but I did find the Lapland Longspur that had been frequenting field 5. Nice.
I ended the day with a scan of Belmont lake, but turned up nothing else before the rain interceded again.

You cant get them all, ( though I try ) and get by with a little help from my friends. By any measure I had a great day. 76 species for the year so far. Not bad!

No comments: