Thursday, February 24, 2011

Out and About in Suffolk County LI...

Barrow's Goldeneye (topmost bird)
On Sunday, I joined Rich Kelly and Steve Rosenthal on an Eastern Long Island birding expedition.  Our first stop was Belmont Lake where we dipped on Greater-white Fronted Goose (Anser albifrons). We were there at around 7:15 a.m., so either that was too late or the GWF have moved on.  From there, we headed out to Noyack Bay to look for the Barrow’s Goldeneye (Bucephala islandica). Along the way we picked many day birds including Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), which was a year bird for all of us.  At Noyack, the wind coupled with the temperature made conditions brutal.  Rich and Steve gave the beach a good crack, but eventually retreated back to the car (probably the smart thing to do).  I stubbornly continued (not smart) working the bay and despite the choppy waves and wind, found the Barrow’s.  Rich who was scoping from the car also got on the bird.  Steve, was too cold to worry about Barrow’s and was content getting the warmth back into his hands.  From Noyack, we headed out to Cook’s Lane to look for a Ross’s Goose (Chen rossii).  We arrived and found a flock of 14 Snow Geese (Chen caerulescens) (that included a Blue-morph) with a large flock of Canada Geese (Branta canadensis).  Unfortunately, we did not get to study them, as they took off just as we began going through the lot.  However, good fortune prevailed as we found the Ross’s Goose in another flock which was in the opposite field.  The looks were not great at all and we wished for better looks and even drove back to the area to take another look and hope for photos, but it was not to be.  

Trumpeter Swan at Yaphank
 We continued birding but decided to work our way back west instead of continuing into Montauk.  Other than the various ponds with open water, land birds were scarce and tough to get as the birds sought shelter to get out of the wind.  A stop at Epcal resulted in really good looks looks at 3 Rough-legged Hawks (Buteo lagopus), but no Meadowlarks or Sparrows were seen.  Our last stop of the day was at Yaphank, where we went in search for Trumpeter Swans (Cygnus buccinator).  It was Rich who spotted the 2 Trumpeter Swans though Steve tried to pull a fast one in trying to claim the find.  We all had great looks of the Swans and with that last stop we called it a day.  The wind made it a tough day for birding, but we had a good time and picked up some year birds in the process.

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