Saturday, January 14, 2017

January 14 - North Fork birds

The regular group of Andy, Jen, Bill and I went out to eastern Long Island's North Fork this morning for some birds.  The first stop was in the town of Southold for the previously reported & week-long staying Townsend's Solitaire.  Fortunately for us this was a drive-up bird as it was seen perched atop a tree as we arrived.  The bird does move around a bit, however stays in the same general area so viewing can be done from one spot.  At one point the bird had circled around behind us and was seemingly taking a look at us !
This was my 369th species seen within New York State.

Click to enlarge
credit: Bill Elrick

We then did some seawatching into the Long Island Sound where we saw some lovely White-Winged Scoters, Black Scoters, Long-Tailed Ducks, and Common Goldeneyes.

We then headed back west toward Riverhead and stopped at the home of Margaret, a nice woman that is welcoming small groups of birders into her backyard to see some rare hummingbirds.  As we were told the first hummingbird arrived in October, being attracted to her extensive flower plantings.  As the seasons progressed and these blooms died, she has setup a few heated hummingbird feeders.  To her further surprise yet a second hummingbird then began calling her yard home.   The hummingbirds appear to be Rufous Hummingbirds, and these birds will continue to be studied by local aviary experts to confirm their species.  The one bird was sporting a small gorget, indicating that it is a male.  Here is a fine gif of the bird showing it's wonderful colors, and respiration.

credit: Bill Elrick

With a short day today we then headed toward home, and made a final stop at Lake Ronkokoma. Here we saw a pair of Tundra Swans amongst the numerous Mute Swans, a surprising Red-Throated Loon on this freshwater lake, and many Common Mergansers.