Monday, January 7, 2013

Year Listing - Long Island and PA

The year list attracts my attention in January, so I did some roaming around to find some of the more difficult winter birds, to limited success: no Tufted Duck on Long Island; no Barnacle Goose on Long Island - I picked the wrong Barnacle to chase since the Van Cortlandt Park bird is still there.

Nevertheless, on Jan 5th:
Huntington Harbor viewed from Halesite Park gave a nice mix of winter water birds but without the Tufted Duck I desired: Common and Red-throated Loons; American Black Duck; American Wigeon; Gadwall; Greater Scaup; Bufflehead; Red-breasted and Hooded Mergansers; Mute Swan; Brant.  One of the Red-throated Loons was especially dark (an immature), so dark that it almost had a chin strap.

I got to Belmont Lake State Park after the Barnacle Goose had flown out, but there were still: Common Merganser; Ring-necked Duck; Northern Flicker; Brown Creeper; Golden-crowned Kinglets.

A stop at Jones Beach State Park at Lot 6 revealed that the boardwalk had been damaged and the main building was closed.  Not a great deal visible over the ocean but a few distant Scoter sp, Nothern Gannet, Common Loon, Long-tailed Ducks and an alcid sp.  The alcid was almost certainly Razorbill but the surf was up and alcids stay down a while while feeding thus making viewing extremely difficult.  Three fly-by Sanderlings made for half the shorebird species for the day.

On to the Coast Guard station where Long-tailed Duck, Red-breasted Merganser and Brant were in the dock area (here too the dock was ripped up due to Hurricane Sandy), American Oystercatcher and Bonaparte's Gull in the bay, and both species of Loons were numerous here taking advantage of calmer waters than the ocean.  Nothering much going on in West End 2 but at the Theodore Roosevelt Nature Center I had a fly-by Great Blue Heron (immature, hopefully headed south), three Horned Larks and Yellow-rumped Warblers.  Notable by their absence were any type of raptor at Jones Beach - normally a reliable place for them but Sandy may well have killed off the small mammal populations.

Then I started to head back to NJ, first stopping at Tottenville Train Station where American Wigeon, the expected male Eurasian Wigeon and an adult Great Cormorant were easily found.  Back in NJ at Edison Boat Launch there was nothing beyond common gulls and Mallards but one Red-tailed Hawk was hovering in ways that suggested Rough-legged (alas, no, but the land-fills around that part of Edison/New Brunswick have attracted white-winged gulls and Rough-legged recently).

Finally, with an idea of adding more interesting gulls to the day's list I made my last stop at Falls Twp Community Park in PA where I found 3 Lesser-black-backed Gulls and one second winter Iceland Gull, although I had to wait for the latter and it was on the darker end of the Kumlein's Iceland scale with some duskiness in the primaries.  Not a viable Thayer's however.

On January 7th I added a Red-breasted Nuthatch at my back yard feeders and Bald Eagle at Mercer County Park lake.

All this rummaging around has propelled me to 62 for my year list, a number that is going to get larger once I make my annual TX trip at the end of the week.

No comments: