Saturday, January 18, 2014

January 18 - Overpeck Park's Greater White-Fronted Goose

After birding on Long Island today, we made a quick stop at Overpeck Park to get a brief view of the Greater White-Fronted Goose that has been here for a few days now.

credit: Larry Scachetti

Earlier today we were out at Jones Beach and we connected with this Northern Shrike

Credit: Bill Elrick

Friday, January 17, 2014

January 17 - Ramsey Barnacle Goose

I made a quick stop at the Ramsey High School after work tonight to get a quick look at the Barnacle Goose.  Likely this is the same bird I saw nearby in December.

Credit: Larry Scachetti

Sunday, January 12, 2014

January 12 - North Shore Trip

This morning I was out with friend Bill E. and we birding the areas of the North Shore, basically the coastline & ponds between Point Pleasant and Sandy Hook.
We started at the Manasquan Inlet for a seawatch and here we had the gulls of Iceland & Bonaparte's, and Glaucous, all 3 Scoter species were seen. plus we spotted a Pacific Loon !

Later up in Deal, we had very nice views of a Pacific Loon (possibly the same bird seen earlier in Manasquan ?) and Bill spied a Lesser Black-Backed Gull at Wreck Pond.

Lastly in the Belmar Marina I located a drake Eurasian Wigeon amongst all of the American Wigeon.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

January 4 - Meadowlands Owls

This evening I went to the Richard W. DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst to look for the Short-Eared Owls that has been sen here for a few weeks now.  About 4:30 pm the first of these Owls was seen.  Later we saw a second Owl as well.  Here's a picture by friend Kevin Watson that shows the beauty of these birds.

Credit:  Kevin Watson

Surprisingly we also had a Barn Owl that took a long flight very close to us.  When I saw the completely white underwings I knew this was a different species, and then I saw the heart-shaped facial disk that's characteristic of this species.

Credit: Ashok Khosla

Earlier on the drive in I had seen a light morph of the Rough-Legged Hawk

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

January 1 - Eastern Long Island

This first day of 2014 brings a trip out to the easternmost point that one can drive to in greater New York.  With friends Andy, Jen, & Bill we began the New Year with a sunrise view from Montauk Point.

Unless one were to be there its difficult to explain how over 100 people are doing the same thing, so here's a photo of the parking lot a few minutes before 7:00 am.

Here's the same view 90 minutes later !

On to the expected the water was filled with sea ducks flying all about.  Most numerous are the Scoters and we saw all three species of Black, Surf, and White-Winged quite well.  There were dozens of Razorbills and a single flyby Dovekie !
Other species seen here are many Common Eider (unfortunately we did not see any King Eider), Red-Breasted Mergansers, and several Gull species of Bonaparte's, Ring-Billed, Herring, and Greater Black-Backed.  Several other species of sea ducks were represented in smaller numbers.

After visiting a few other spots in the Montauk area we headed back west to the Shinnecock Inlet.
Here we had wonderful views of Glaucous Gull, and a confiding Iceland Gull which eventually ended up in the parking area.

click to enlarge

credit: Bill Elrick

Finally, once much closer to home, we stopped at Cedar Beach.  Here we were able to see the Gyrfalcon (perhaps the returning bird from last winter?).  This time the bird was perched in a Cedar Tree. After a short bit the Gyrfalcon was harassed by it's smaller, yet no-less fearless, cousin named the Peregrine Falcon.  After strafing the Gyr a few times the 'Grine got its target bird to flush. We then watched a fantastic showing of the two birds interacting in flight for quite some time as the much larger & more powerful Gyr easily avoided the annoying attempts of the attacker.  Soon after the Gyrfalcon flew too far and low into the march for us to see it any longer.
This was a great end to a very good day as it's quite rare to see these two birds together outside of their Arctic homes.