Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Winter Hike at Pelham Bay Park...

A total of 8 birders/naturalists gathered at the Pelham Bay Park subway stop around 9:00 a.m. to embark on a winter walk at Pelham Bay Park.Our guide Ron Bourque, selected the subway stop as our meeting point to facilitate those taking mass transit and from there we car pooled to our first stop which was Eastchester Bay. Making our way from the parking lot to the Bay, we had good looks at several Monk Parakeets, which had nests in every one of the floodlight platforms that overlooked the soccer field…surely some extra work for maintenance when the lights have to be changed. Along the trail to the Bay we saw, White-breasted Nuthatches, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Red-tailed Hawks, Dark-eyed Juncos, Blue-jays and Tufted Titmice.Once we got to the Bay, we immediately saw Brandts, Ring-billed Gulls, Mallards and Red-breasted Mergansers.Further out in the water were Greater Scaup and American Black Ducks.While some in the group were taking in the water fowls, others were scanning the landfill to our left and a dark looking bird that was perched on the fence that surrounds the path from the Bay caught our attention. From our bins, it was not very clear, but Red-tailed hawk was ruled out as well as our accipiter’s (Cooper’s and Sharp-shinned). Ron, got the scope on the bird and after a few looks of the bird on it's perch, I decided that it was a dark morph Rough-legged Hawk. After looking and seeing the bird in flight, Ron concurred. Many in our group were pleased at the find, as it was a lifer for some.Ron also found a Kestrel, which was scoped and everyone had good looks as well. The landfill had a lot of Hawk action as we observed several Red-tailed Hawks kiting over the landfill, briefly giving us looks only to disappear on the other side in search of prey. After leaving Eastchester Bay, our next stop was Hunter’s Island, where Ron and his wife Jean led us to Long-eared Owls; this was the highlight for the group and for many it was a lifer. Shortly after, we broke for lunch and then continued birding the trail walking on the other side that looked out to the Long Island sound. On this trail, we got more water fowl, in Buffleheads, American Wigeon, Eurasian Wigeon and came across 8-9 Killdeer. We continued on the trail in search of Great Horned Owls, but did not find any despite several trees that we found with good cavities for nests. We wrapped up our walk around 3:30 p.m. with everyone expressing their satisfaction on a fantastic hike and looking forward to the next Audubon walk. It was a decent day of birding and we ended up with a total of 32 species - American Black Duck, American Goldfinch, American Kestrel, American Robin, American Wigeon, Blue Jay, Brandts, Bufflehead, Canada Geese, Carolina Wren, Dark-eyed Junco, Downy Woodpecker, Eurasian Wigeon, Greater Scaup, Hooded Merganser, Killdeer, Long-eared Owls, Mallards, Monk Parakeets, Mute Swan, Northern Cardinal, Northern Flicker, Northern Harrier, Northern Mockingbird, Red-Bellied Woodpeckers, Red-breasted Merganser, Red-tailed Hawks, Ring-billed Gull, Rough-legged Hawk, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted, Nuthatch and White-throated Sparrow. Share with Bookmark and Share

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