Thursday, September 9, 2010

Shorebirds at Jones Beach and Philadelphia Vireo in Alley Pond Park...

Birds on the Spit at the Coast Guard Station Jones Beach
On Monday, I visited Jones Beach to look for possible migrants. My first stop was at the Coast Guard Station where I sifted through birds on the spit. There were decent numbers of birds around, but most were the same species seen on September 4th, with a couple of exceptions. I did not find the juvenile American Golden Plover that I had on the 4th and I had Red-knots, a specie that I did not have on the 4th. Very pleasing was the sight of 4 juvenile Red Knots, the first I had seen this season.

From that location, I checked out the Swale at West End II and had 9 species of shorebirds with my highlight being a Buff-breasted Sandpiper and the continuing 2 Baird's Sandpipers. As the morning progressed, I received a phone call from my friend Shai Mitra relaying that he and Pat Lindsay (his partner in crime) had seen Dickcessel and Clay-colored Sparrow at Robert Moses State Park during the early morning flight. Pat and Shai had also received word from Tom Burke and Gail Benson that Alley Pond Park in Queens had a good showing of warblers; as a result, they had decided to head out there from RMSP. I pondered heading out to Alley Pond, but decided that since I was at Jones Beach, I would head out to RMSP to try for the Dickcessel and Clay-colored Sparrow.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper
The search for either bird did not bore fruit, but I did get on a Yellow-breasted Chat that posed nicely in a shrub for crippling views. While at RMSP, I met up with Joan Quinlan and Gerta Fritz, (you might remember them from the Sandhill Crane chase). Gerta had tried for and missed the Lark Sparrow that I had seen with others on September 5th (see that report here). I encouraged Gerta to try again; this time, Joan and I went with her to look for the bird. Within 15 minutes of searching the location, we picked up the Lark Sparrow; Gerta had picked up another year bird. Shortly after, I left RMSP and headed over to Alley Pond. I was able to convince Joan to head out there as well and it turned out to be a worthwhile decision.

On my way to Alley Pond, I had a call from Shai who along with Gail Benson and Pat Lindsay, had a Philadelphia Vireo all lined up. Joan and I hurried over to the spot and we keyed in on not one, but TWO Philadelphia Vireos. This was my second and best look at a Philly Vireo; last year I had my first and life Philadelphia Vireo in Ithaca with Shai and Pat. So they were in on my second look as well. We all spent some time soaking in the views of this bird, then Joan and I birded "Little Alley" before finally calling it a day.

Philadelphia Vireo (Vireo philadelphicus) at Alley Pond Park Queens
Philadelphia Vireo (Vireo philadelphicus) at Alley Pond Park Queens
Philadelphia Vireo (Vireo philadelphicus) at Alley Pond Park Queens

Enjoying a Philadelphia Vireo with some of the finest birders I know.

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