Monday, March 05, 2007

March 4 - Return of the Smitty

Today a few friends and I returned to Jones Beach to see the Smith's Longspur.

This bird has been here for a long time now, and is being seen almost daily. It took an hour or so, but the bird eventually re-appeared. The bird was visible for a half-hour or so, and provided nice scope looks. The bird had some more streaking on it's chest this time around, and the auriculars (ear coverts) were more clearly defined too.

The Lapland Longspurs that were seen today have really transitioned into their upcoming breeding plumage. Several bright males had wonderful chestnut on the nape of their necks, and also displayed more of the black on their faces and chests.
Also seen were very close Snow Buntings, Horned Larks, a Harrier, several dozen Black-Bellied Plovers, along with a handful of Dunlin.

Afterward we visited some ponds in the area. Of note was Capri Pond in Babylon(?).
Here there were over 75 Redhead ducks looking very nice in the sun, Canvasbacks, Gadwall, Wood Duck, Shovelers, Pied-Billed Grebes, Am. Wigeon, Green-Winged Teal, Ruddy Duck, Greater and Lesser Scaup,and a Ring-Necked Duck.

Also seen today at various stops were Goldeneye, Bufflehead, all 3 of the Mergansers, Black and Surf Scoters, Great and Double-Crested Cormorants, Oldsquaw, and Bonaparte's Gull.

Things will be picking up slowly over the month of March, and returning birds that have not been seen in several months will once again be appearing in my binoculars.