The new year's day birding out on Long Island New York got off to an excellent start with a most cooperative Northern Shrike that posed for a photo at the Jones Beach West End II parking lot. This was a bird that was seen in the same area sporadically in 2013 but was badly missed on the Southern Nassau CBC(Christmas Bird Count) which was a few days ago.
My friend Doug Futuyma and Bob Proniewych showed up at West End II and we teamed up to do a bit of birding. We did pretty well, adding a number of goodies including Gyrfalcon, seen at Cedar Beach Marina (another CBC miss) and Barrow's Goldeneye (drake), seen at Sands Point. A surprising Palm Warbler(western subspecies) was a very, very nice surprise and I managed a photo for documentation purposes.
Doug, Bob and I rushed back to Jones Beach to follow up on a report of a Pacific Loon near the Coast Guard Station but the bird had drifted on by the time we got there. Teaming up with another friend, Dave Klauber, we four checked a few areas at Jones Beach and Point Lookout. We had an interesting loon that looked good for Pacific but in the end after much discussion, we let it go as none of us were willing to confidently take it based on the looks we had. In retrospect, a few of us felt we over thought the bird but such is the case of conservative birding and I am okay with letting a bird go, if I am not 100 % convinced.
Tags: Barrow's Goldeneye, Gyrfalcon, Northern Shrike