Sunday, December 12, 2010

Van Courtlandt Bird Walk Report 12-11-2010...

Greater White-fronted digiscoped through the chain linked fence.
The few of us that braved the cold on Saturday began our walk by checking out the parade grounds across from the Nature Center at Van Courtlandt Park. We were looking for a Greater White-fronted Goose that was seen on Friday by one of our regulars on the walk and long time Van Courtlandt Park birder, Alex Pirko. After a bit of searching, we did not see our target bird so we immediately headed over to the Van Courtlandt Lake where Alex had found the bird on Friday afternoon.

Along the way we picked up some species here and there, but for the most part, it was quiet, as to be expected this time of the year. Once we got to the North West bridge by the lake we began to search for our target bird. We had quite a number of Canada Geese in the area but no Greater White-fronted Goose. I decided that we needed to change our angle and suggested that we continued past the flock and look back. That did the trick, I picked up the bird moments later, spotting it tucked in behind some Canada Geese. However, our exuberance was short lived; we had barely got on the bird before it picked up and flew off with a small number of Canada Geese.  I watched it in flight and surmised that it was going back to the parade grounds we had scanned earlier.

Greater White-fronted digiscoped through the chain linked fence.
We continued the loop around the lake and made our way back to the parade grounds where we began to patiently search for the bird. After about 2 hours of sorting through the flock of Canada Geese (we had approximately 2,000 Canada Geese on the field), I found the bird feeding amongst a small group.  It was tucked away among the Canada Geese, in a fenced off area and could easily be overlooked not only in the flock, but also in the many dips in the field.  Everyone got on the bird and for many it was a lifer. I tried my hand again at digiscoping though the chain link fence surrounding the area and took several shots of the GWFG.  Interestingly, in reviewing the Birds of Van Courtlandt Checklist, I did not see Greater White-fronted Goose listed, so this could be a record sighting for the park .  Below is a list of the birds seen on the walk.

Location: Van Courtlandt Park Bronx NY 10471
Observation date: 12/11/10
Number of species: 34

Greater White-fronted Goose - Anser albifrons 1
Brant - Branta bernicla 123
Canada Goose - Branta canadensis 2398
Wood Duck - Aix sponsa 2
American Black Duck - Anas rubripes 2
Mallard - Anas platyrhynchos 8
Northern Shoveler - Anas clypeata 7
Great Blue Heron - Ardea herodias 2
Cooper's Hawk - Accipiter cooperii 1
Red-tailed Hawk - Buteo jamaicensis 1
Killdeer - Charadrius vociferus 1
Ring-billed Gull - Larus delawarensis 79
Herring Gull - Larus argentatus 9
Great Black-backed Gull - Larus marinus 5
Rock Pigeon - Columba livia 48
Mourning Dove - Zenaida macroura 6
Belted Kingfisher - Megaceryle alcyon 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker - Melanerpes carolinus 2
Downy Woodpecker - Picoides pubescens 2
Northern Flicker - Colaptes auratus 1
Blue Jay - Cyanocitta cristata 2
Black-capped Chickadee - Poecile atricapillus 4
Tufted Titmouse - Baeolophus bicolor 6
Red-breasted Nuthatch - Sitta canadensis 1
White-breasted Nuthatch - Sitta carolinensis 3
Northern Mockingbird - Mimus polyglottos 1
European Starling - Sturnus vulgaris 68
Song Sparrow - Melospiza melodia 2
White-throated Sparrow - Zonotrichia albicollis 7
Dark-eyed Junco - Junco hyemalis 4
Northern Cardinal - Cardinalis cardinalis 3
House Finch - Carpodacus mexicanus 5
American Goldfinch - Spinus tristis 9
House Sparrow - Passer domesticus 28

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