Sunday, January 01, 2017

January 1 - Do You Hatsuhinode?

Do you ?
Hatsuhinode is the first sunrise of the year and is one of many firsts that the Japanese take note of during the celebration of the new year. This tradition has been practiced since ancient times – originally performed at the beginning of spring based on the lunar calendar, hatsuhinode is now practiced faithfully on January 1st . The ideal place to perform hatsuhinode is at the waters edge.

I ask this question because back in 2014 during my last New Year's Day visit to Montauk Point I learned that many people, including a majority of these folks being of Japanese heritage, enjoy taking in the first sunrise of the new year at the water's edge of the easternmost point of Long Island.  This morning we witnessed this event once again...

For the birding, we arrived at Montauk Point State Park, at the easternmost point of the Long Island's South Fork, just before 9:00 am.  Straight away we had Razorbills in flight, and throughout the next two hours we saw more than 50 of these alcids.

Bill E. had a brief view of a Dovekie, but it was not long enough for the rest of our group to get on it.  Along with the expected Red-Breasted Mergansers, Common Loons and Red-Throated Loons, Common Goldeneye, Long-Tailed Ducks, Common Eider, and three scoters of Black, Common, and Surf we were able to locate one Black-Legged Kittiwake.
Credit: Ron Knight

On our drive back west, we stopped at Hook Pond and saw a Greater White-Fronted Goose along Further Lane.

The next stop was Shinnecock Inlet.  Here I was able to spot a Snowy Owl, a species that likely will be rare this year as it is not an irruption year for them.  Later we saw a Harlequin Duck, and then I saw the Glaucous Gull sitting on the bay side jetty.