Sunday, November 28, 2010

Stamford, Bronx, Long Island, Jamaica Bay

One of my period dark-dark trips with long road miles, I started off at the Fork-tailed Flycatcher spot in Stamford, CT just after dawn and while the bird took a little while to turn up it did pose very nicely indeed for photographs. There were also a few roosting Wild Turkeys and a couple of Monk Parakeets. The Fork-tailed (FTFL) was at this site Nov 17th-Dec 4th.

I had chosen to look at the FTFL because it was fairly close to my main interest for the day - a banded Barnacle Goose of known wild origin in Pelham Bay Park at Orchard Beach. So after heading back into NYC from Stamford I spent two hours combing the local area for it, including some grassy areas slightly further afield. I was sadly unsuccessful. I later learned that some photographers had got far too close the previous day and scared it off. That's a lot of people hours wasted as a result of selfishness. Update: this Barnacle Goose turned up again on Dec 4th in Stratford CT, roughly 45 miles to the west, again associated with a Canada Goose flock.

After some frustration at Pelham Bay I went south to Jones Beach West End and spent a little time looking at the somewhat distant Northern Loggerhead Shrike and chatting with other birders - the shrike in particular is a little small and a little dark but otherwise seems a decent match for Northern over the rather similar Loggerhead (see discussion of this both above and below). Shai Mitra pulled out a distant Kittiwake over the ocean with his scope, but the Northern Gannets were rather more obvious. A Merlin was hunting the swallows (presumed Tree, but Cave is possible) and later on the pigeons at the Coast Guard Station. At the Coast Guard Station there was a big flock of Brant and shorebirds (Dunlin, American Oystercatcher, Black-bellied Plover and a few Red Knot) and a dispersed flock of Bonaparte's Gulls in the bay. Since there wasn't that much of interest at Jones I went around to Point Lookout which used to be a big spot for Bonaparte's several years ago, and there were some off the park. However they were not especially concentrated, being spread out all over the inlet, bay (and probably the beach). This flock holds multiple Little Gulls and at least one Black-headed Gull but unless they concentrate in one place finding them will be a challenge. A small flock of Common Eider flew in and out of the inlet while I was there.

Finally I spent the late afternoon at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, photographing ducks flying in and out of the West Pond. All the usual suspects were there, with the exception of Canvasback which seemed to be curiously absent. The Snow Goose count was a grand total of 5 birds seen in flight as I was exiting the refuge. The list from Jamaica Bay is:

Snow Goose
American Wigeon
American Black Duck
Northern Shoveler
Greater Scaup
Lesser Scaup
Common Goldeneye
Hooded Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Northern Harrier
Cooper's Hawk

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