Today, I went to Floyd Bennett field for a birding walk which was led by Ron and Jean Bourque. We met up at the Ranger station and while discussing our plan of action, we had excellent looks at a Northern Harrier, that flew right by us and also had looks at Northern Flickers and American Crows. Our first stop was at the Pine Grove; our walk among the lovely Eastern Whites Pines (I love these trees), did not reveal much...though we did see a couple of Red-breasted Nuthatches. There was white wash around some trees, but no pellets or Owls. I was encouraged though, so I will be going back there to check.
From the grove, we headed out to the cricket field in search of Horned Larks and we did find about 12, a much smaller flock than the 40 that I had seen a few weeks ago. While enjoying the Larks, we also saw a few Song Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, Tree Sparrow, Juvenille White-crowned Sparrow, Snow Geese, Canada Geese and Brandt. After about an hour, we decided to check out the runways to see if Snow Buntings might be around. While parking, I noticed a Hawk in the far distance perched in a tree; looks through the scope at first indicated a Red-tailed; however when in flight there was some doubt leading to the speculation of a Rough-legged Hawk...I stuck to my initial assessment of Red-tailed. We walked a little bit more than half of the runway, but could not find any action on the ground, so we decided to head to the parking lot overlooking Jamaica Bay to get a look at water fowl. On our way to the lot we flushed a small flock of Meadowlarks on our right, but lost them in the grass and could not locate them again even after about 20-30 minutes of scanning the grass. We continued on to the lot overlooking Jamaica Bay where we got looks at Common Loon Red-throated Loon, Horned Grebe, Brandt, American Wigeon, Bufflehead, Red-breasted Merganser, Ring-billed Gull, Greater Black-backed Gull, and Double Crested Cormorant.
After about 45 minutes, we left that area and drove to another location just before Raptor Point and saw many of the same species we had seen before in addition to nice looks at a Red-tailed and Sharp-shinned Hawk. It was a good morning out and I am glad we got some birding before the pending Snow storm.