Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Looking for Winter Birds at Floyd Bennett Field and Fort TIlden...

On Sunday, I assisted Gabriel Willow with an Audubon walk at Floyd Bennett Field and Fort Tilden. I got to Floyd Bennett Field around 8:30 a.m. and began birding on my own. I was in a way scouting the area before the attendees arrived, so I would know what was around and be able to allow people the chance to see as many species as possible. My first stop was around Archery Road and there I got looks at Common Goldeneye, Great Cormorant, Red-breasted Merganser, Greater Scaup, Bufflehead and Horned Grebe. From Archery road, I moved on towards the cricket field, where I got a flock of about 52 Horned Larks, 30 Canada Geese and 2 Dark Morph Snow Geese. After spending a few minutes scoping the Larks unsuccessfully for a Longspur, I moved on to the Boat Ramp; on my way, I scanned the grasslands for the Meadowlarks that I know are over-wintering, but did not see any. At the Boat ramp, I saw many of the same species I had seen at Archery Road and also a few additions, in American Wigeon, Red-throated Loons and Common Loons. While watching some Horned Grebes in the scope, I had a nice surprise and the first for me in that location...a Harbor Seal. The next stop was around Raptor point, where I picked up Song Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows and may of the species that I had already seen. Along the way, I had numerous fly byes of Northern Flickers, Yellow-rumped Warblers and Northern Harriers. By that time a few hours had passed and around 11:30 a.m. I got a call from Gabriel indicating that they had arrived. I joined the group and we basically went back to most of the places that I had already covered. Our highlight was spotting several Red-tailed Hawks kiting over the North-forty trail and we had good looks at one such immature Red-tailed that was being mobbed by crows. After lunch, we decided to head out to Fort Tilden and there we did another hour of birding mostly on the beach scanning the surf for water fowl. The surf was rough and made it quite a task even for scoping, but we did get nice looks at Red-breasted Mergansers, Red-throated and Common Loons, Long-tailed Ducks and 3 fly by Snow Buntings. We wrapped up the walk around 4:30 p.m.; I think the group was pretty happy with the species we saw. We ended up with around 34 species. Share with SociBook.com Bookmark and Share

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