Following the Southern Nassau County and Captree Christmas bird counts, I decided the following weekend (January 10th), to try for some of the birds that I did not get to see on the counts. I thought I had gotten out early enough 6:45 a.m, but started to think otherwise when I began to pickup birds flying over the Southern State Parkway on Long Island. The best was a Great Egret that flew over right at the Hempstead Lake exit, a bird that I don’t think was found during either CBC’s. I wondered aloud where it had been hiding. Dismissing all negative thoughts that my 1st target bird was going to be missed I continued on to Belmont Lake State Park. When I got there a couple of birders were there and upon inquiring if they had seen the Greater White-fronted Goose, I learned they had not. About 20 minutes after I had arrived, I spotted a Greater White-fronted Goose way in the back up against the Island hidden in between Canada Geese. Later on, I found a second Greater White-fronted. By then other birders had begun to arrive and with them were my friends Shai Mitra and Pat Lindsay. One birder earlier had tried to get us on a Cackling Goose, but we could not find it and he kept losing it. Shai, quickly found the Cackling Goose and got us all on the bird. Leaving Belmont, I diverted to another location to get some friends on a couple of birds they were looking for.
After completing that run successfully, I went for my second target bird, the Lapland Longspur that was seen at Floyd Bennett Field. When I got to Floyd Bennett, I headed for the cricket field and did a thorough search, but all I came up with were 36 Canada Geese, one of which had a banded orange collar (I have requested and awaiting information on the banded bird). From the cricket field I decided to check out the boat ramp for Gulls.
After spending some time with the Gulls and enjoying a brief respite, I headed back to the cricket field. There I met Karlo Mirth, who you might remember from the Golden Plover post last summer. Karlo indicated that it appeared a flock of Snow Buntings had just flown onto the field. After thanking Karlo, I grabbed my gear and proceeded to scope the field. These turned out not to be Snow Buntings; instead, I counted a flock of about 48 Horned Larks as well as not one, but two Lapland Longspurs. After a while I left Karlo and his wife to enjoy the flock. It was time to move on and I was feeling quite pleased as I had just gotten target bird number 2.
Mew Gull. Having had the bird the first day it was found, I had dipped on it on New Year’s Day, but I was feeling lucky. I was hoping not only to see it, but to get some additional photos, since my initial photos were taken amidst rain and wind. I got to the location where the bird was seen and after about 10 minutes, I located the bird within a flock of Ring-billed Gulls. I was able to observe and photograph the bird despite the flock being flushed several times by dog walkers and bikers. I was also able to get a couple of birders from NJ on the bird. This was one of those days that will be hard to duplicate in the field. 3 target birds and I got them all. Now that there is a report of a possible Mew Gull in NJ, I thought of posting more photos of the Mew Gull in Brooklyn that might help as a field reference. Click on the images for a larger view. Enjoy!
Tags: Mew Gull, Brooklyn NY, Greater White-fronted Goose, Lapland Longspur