I joined my friends and birders extraordinaire Shai Mitra and Pat Lindsay on Saturday October 11th, for a day of birding at Robert Moses State Park. I was particularly excited because the weather conditions all pointed to a good day for migrants. This feeling was magnified as I hit the Southern State Parkway in foggy conditions around 6:00 a.m. I kept thinking the weather was perfect for an influx of migrants and had visions of birds being everywhere at Robert Moses. As I entered the circle at Robert Moses, I got a call from Shai and we met up at field 2. My excitement quickly subsided, as I did not see much activity along the strip - it looked that very little flight occurred. While discussing where we were going to start birding, we received a message that someone had a Connecticut Warbler mere yards from where we were. We quickly assembled at the spot and scoured the area for the bird. After some gentle coaxing in the form of phishing the bird showed albeit briefly. Only two people got on that bird, myself and the guy who initially reported spotting the bird. I learned a lesson that day - get good looks at the bird before trying to get others on it. When I saw the bird, I took my eyes off the bird in an effort to get others on it and did not allow myself to linger long enough to really soak that bird in. The bird moved and I could not relocate it, which was a tad vexing. I later applied that lesson. After the Connecticut, Shai and I did a short sea watch while Pat birded another location. The sea watch was not productive, with the only action of interest being three Surf Scoters bobbing in the waves just off shore. Pat had better luck with Chipping Sparrows, Indigo Buntings, and Field Sparrows at her location.
We birded field 2 some more trying to find a Clay-colored Sparrow that was seen earlier in the week. I twice had glimpses, but they were both BVD (Better View Desired). We worked hard at trying to get open looks at the bird, but it remained very secretive. We did get several Indigo Buntings, Chipping Sparrows and Pine Warblers. Shai had a fly over Pipit. After a while, we moved onto field 5, where we birded some more. We got a call that the Clay-colored was giving good looks and so we hurried back over since field 5 was not very productive. While there, I was able to key in on the bird and get spectacular looks. Here I applied the lesson learned earlier as I did not take my eyes of the bird even as folks returning from scrambled looks at 2 flyby Caspian Terns, asked if I had it. After the Clay-colored we birded some more and picked more of the usual species as well as 3 additional flyby Caspian Terns making the tally 5 for the day. By 3:00 P.M. we called it a day at Robert Moses. I continued onto Jamaica Bay where I picked more of the usual species and finally wrapped up my day around 6:30 P.M. Here are some photos of the Clay-colored Sparrow!
Tags: Birding, Robert Moses State Park, Clay-colored Sparrow