Sunday, June 28, 2009

Birding Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Queens NY...

I took advantage of a brief respite from all the rain and headed out for an early morning bird walk at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens NY. I arrived at the refuge around 8:00 AM and started along the West Pond trail. It was cloudy and so bird songs were somewhat subdued. Across from the West Pond trail, I got great looks at the Osprey nest with the chicks. One of them seemed anxious to try out his/her flight skills and kept stretching its wings and hopping up and down. Around that same location, I heard and then saw a Willow Flycatcher (they have been known to breed at the refuge). Out on the West Pond the usual species were abound, I did several careful sweeps of the pond taking care to look closely against the Phragmites for any lurking abnormalities, but found none. Since it was low tide, the flats out on Pumpkin Channel were exposed and here I found an immature Little Blue Heron, and then a Tri-colored Heron. I watched the Tri-colored Heron as it hunted for food. In this case, it was using the technique of extending its wings to create a shadow across the water to make the prey more visible. It was pretty cool watching it hunt and I wished I had a better angle to get some video of this neat behavior. Scanning further along the flats, I found a couple of Gull-billed Terns resting and I was able to get excellent looks and photographs. I continued on around the loop bypassing Terrapin trail, which was closed due to the Turtle nesting period. I opted not to walk through the gardens and walked the outer trail instead. Coming down the home stretch just before the blind, I heard and saw catbirds making quite a fuss. Stopping to see what was happening, I observed the cause of their angst. It turned out their turf was invaded by a snake that looked like a “Black Racer” Coluber constrictor; these snakes are not poisonous but can deliver a very painful bite. I witnessed the communal behavior of the catbirds as they increased in numbers and went after the snake, actually delivering several well placed pecks, which drove it off. Continuing on, I stopped at the blind; there was not much around except for Catbirds, a Lone Mourning Dove and a couple of Yellow-Warblers. On my way out from the blind, I looked around to check on the Virginia Roses I had planted last fall. About a Month ago, the Roses looked in great form and buds were starting to form and so I was looking forward to the blooming roses. Well, I had quite a shock! The Roses were all gone. A closer look seemed to indicate that they were either mowed or clipped. I could not believe it, who could have done this? I have to put in a call to the Rangers to find out what happened. Putting that out of my mind, I headed out to the East Pond. At Big John’s, I found a Black Crowned Night Heron and I could make out the Barn Owls in the nest box. This box was already checked out by the banding team and three babies were banded about a week ago. Out on the East Pond, there were the usual inhabitants, including a Spotted Sandpiper, which happened to be my FOS (first of the season). Tags: , , ,

Total Species seen: 57
  1. America Wigeon
  2. American Black Duck
  3. American Crow
  4. American Oystercatcher
  5. American Redstart
  6. American Robin
  7. Barn Owl
  8. Barn Swallow
  9. Black-crowned night Heron
  10. Boat-tailed Grackle
  11. Brandt
  12. Brown Thrasher
  13. Brown-headed Cowbird
  14. Canada Goose
  15. Carolina Wren
  16. Chimney Swift
  17. Common Grackle
  18. Common Yellowthroat
  19. Double Crested Cormorant
  20. Eastern Kingbird
  21. Eastern Towhee
  22. European Starling
  23. Fish Crow
  24. Forster’s Tern
  25. Glossy Ibis
  26. Gray Catbird
  27. Great Crested Flycatcher
  28. Great Egret
  29. Great-blue Heron
  30. Greater-black-backed Gull
  31. Herring Gull
  32. House Finch
  33. House Wren
  34. Laughing Gull
  35. Least Tern
  36. Little Blue-heron
  37. Mallard
  38. Marsh Wren
  39. Mourning Dove
  40. Mute Swan
  41. Northern Cardinal
  42. Northern Mockingbird
  43. Osprey
  44. Red-winged Blackbird
  45. Ring-billed Gull
  46. Ring-billed Tern
  47. Ruddy Duck
  48. Scarlet Tanager
  49. Snowy Egret
  50. Song Sparrow
  51. Spotted Sandpiper
  52. Tree Swallow
  53. Tri-colored Heron
  54. Willet
  55. Willow Flycatcher
  56. Yellow Warbler
  57. Yellow-crowned Night Heron
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dAwN said...

Bummer about the roses! But a nice day of birding.
Have not been to Jamaica bay but plan on going the next time we visit our daughter in NYC
Happy Birding..
see ya on Twitter!


@Dawn - Hi thanks for visiting and posting a comment. About the Roses...someone is going to have some explaining to do. After all it was a lot of work preparing the area and planting. You must let me know when you are coming to the NYC area. We will definitely go birding. Good Birding wherever you go!

julia said...

The roses - unfortunately - met their demise via mower. This was NOT intentional; it was a mistake. We're missing the roses at the Refuge, as well as the Common milkweed that were mowed over during the same session. Sorry, Dude.
But, know we appreciate all the work you put in and all the support you give the Refuge.


@ Julia - Hi thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. I appreciated you taking the time to respond to my concern over the mishap of the Roses. I wished it did not happen, but I suppose stuff happens. Thanks again and I'll see you at the refuge.