Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Birding The Barrier Beaches of Long Island NY...

Gary, Lloyd, Tom and Gail
On Saturday, I headed out to Long Island for some barrier beach birding. My first stop was Jones Beach, where I failed to locate the Marbled Godwit that has been hanging around, which many hope will stick around for the Christmas count. I then birded around the hedges of the Coast Guard Station picking up many Sparrows and other land birds, including crippling looks at a Merlin. Leaving the area, I browsed the swale at West End checking all the gulls present to ensure there was no lurking specialty in the mix. Next, I stopped at the Nature Center quickly picking up the Northen Shrike that has been present now for over a week. My next stop was Captree State Park where I was going to try again to get looks at the Common Ground Dove, but more importantly, I wanted to see the Western Kingbird that had eluded my search on two previous occasions.  When I arrived at Captree, there was already a gathering and the Common  Ground Dove was right at the Toll Booth entrance, as I got out of my vehicle, the bird flew over the road
Western Kingbird
right in front of me where it disappeared into the shrubs. I had seen it, so it was onto my Kingbird quest.  I eventually joined up with Patricia Lindsay and together we searched for and eventually picked up the Western Kingbird on the driveway to the Southern Parking lot. We quickly got on our phones to pass the word out. Our friends Tom Burke and Gail Benson who needed the Western Kingbird for the year, arrived and was able to get on the bird in short order. I soon left and headed to Robert Moses State Park birding fields 2 and 5. The best birds I had at Field 5, were 9-12 Snow Buntings. I also observed a photographer who was playing some type of gadget I could only surmise as a "boom box" (it was so loud) of Snow Bunting calls. I watched his antics as he drove around in a pickup truck circling the parking lot playing his tape in an effort to entice the birds in closer. I envisioned this person attempting this at the Common Ground Dove location and wondered how birders would react.  Leaving Robert Moses, I ended up at Jones Beach again birding the hedges and helping some other birders get on the Northern Shrike. During that time, I learned of a Lark Sparrow that was found at Jones Beach Field 6 and so I headed there. At Field 6, I found photographer/birder Lloyd Spitalnik with birder Gary Strauss
Pat, Shai, Tom and Gail

who were both on the bird and getting looks and photos. I joined them and got in on observing and photographing the bird. The Lark Sparrow, looked crisp and we speculated on molting adult versus a juvenile. Later on, we were joined first by Tom Burke and Gail Benson and then Shai Mitra and Patricia Lindsay arrived as well for looks at the bird. I made one other stop to look for a Vesper Sparrow; that search was unsuccessful and so I called it a day thereafter. Here are some photos from what I would say was a very satisfying day of birding.

Various Sparrows.  Can You Identify Them?
Snow Buntings At Robert Moses State Park
An Uncommon Lark Sparrow At Jones Beach
Male Golden Crowned Kinglet Displaying His Orange Patch

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