Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Weekend birding

Thursday: a nice little foray into Staten Island netted Eurasian Wigeon at Tottenville Train Station - this bird had been reported last year and is likely the same individual that sometimes was seen at Perth Amboy waterfront last winter.  This time I was far luckier than my Perth Amboy forays and actually saw it in a small flock of American Wigeons.  Then the maint target for the day: Cave Swallows at Cemetery of the Resurrection adjacent to Mount Loretto.  This flock had been upwards of 60 birds a week earlier but between 8 and 20 still persisted when I was there, visiting the pond to hawk insects.  The number is ambiguous because I wasn't sure if I saw the same flock 3x or three different flocks.  A single Tree Swallow was present and also fly-by Pine Siskin and Purple Finch.  Then back into NJ with a visit to Roselle where finding the Greater White-fronted Goose and Cackling Geese wasn't especially hard at Warinanco Park.

Friday: back into NYC in Central Park, where there was no Brant on the Reservoir, no Rufous Hummingbird at the Conservatory Garden, a single Barred Owl in the usual location and a few Fox Sparrows in the Ramble but not a great deal else.  Noteworthy was so many Tufted Titmice it almost constituted a plague.

Saturday: despite strong winds following the passage of a cold front I went out to Barnegat Inlet hoping for a little coastal finch movement - to no avail.  However in challenging conditions I found a late Brown Pelican flying up the inlet, a Royal Tern amongst the Forster's Terns and a larger Bonaparte's Gull flock, and the usual Harlequins.  The rest of the sea duck count was very low, with only two Long-tailed Ducks and 20 Black Scoters.  Down at Brigantine div. of Forsythe NWR where the violence that Hurricane Sandy had done to the wildlife drive (closed even to walking) was quite evident, I did snag a Cave Swallow over the open section of drive toward the gull tower.  Otherwise things were quite distant (abundant waterfowl) or keeping their head down in the strong wind.

Sunday: failing yet again to find Crossbills in NYC - this time in Prospect Park - I did manage to find a single Rusty Blackbird, and a couple of Pine Siskins at the Breeze Hill feeders.

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