Sunday, February 15, 2009
Today, I was scheduled to co-lead a bird walk at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge with Don Riepe. Since, I wanted to try again for the Barrow's Goldeneye, I decided that I would get there early and bird before the walk, which was to begin at 10:00 a.m. I got to the refuge at around 8:00 a.m. and I was already ruing that I was late because I really wanted to be on site at 7:00. Another birder, Doug G. arrived just as I did and indicated that he had received a phone call from another birder Steve W., who had already seen the bird and it had left the West Pond around 7:45. This was not what I wanted to hear, but remaining positive, I headed out to the trail. As I got to bench 9, I noticed Doug had set up his scope and was looking out into Pumpkin Channel, there was hope yet, I thought because just from the gesture of the other folks with Doug, it appeared they were looking at something intently. I walked up to the group and noticed one of the Jones Beach boys, Sy S. I immediately asked if they had struck gold and the answer from Doug and Sy was in the affirmative; in fact Doug had me look right away in his scope and I saw the Barrow's. I then got my scope on the duck and had good looks. I tried to do some digiscoping in an effort to get a decent image, but the subject was just too far out in the bay and the surf was rough making it very tough to get any decent photos. After having my fill and sharing my scope with other birders who were arriving in the hopes of seeing the Barrow's, I checked in with Don, who had just arrived at the refuge. It was almost time for the walk to begin and so I headed back towards the refuge. I met Don just at the beginning of the West Pond Trail with about 35 people in tow. We came back out towards the trail I had just left and made it as far as bench 1, where we saw Green-winged Teals and Hooded Mergansers. However, Don decided that it was too cold and windy for the group and so we headed back towards the East Pond. Around the East Pond, we saw several water fowl , including Buffleheads, Common Merganser, Greater Scaup and Rudy Ducks to name a few. We wrapped up our walk around 12:30 and headed back to the refuge. Species seen including my solitary birding include, Barrow's Goldeneye, Common Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Bufflehead, Rudy Duck, Gadwall, Green-winged Teal, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser, Canada Goose, Brandt, Northern Shoveler, Sharp-shinned Hawk, American Black Duck, Mallard, Ring-billed Gull, Greater Scaup, Mute Swan, Double Crested Cormorant, American Coot, Snow Goose, Northern Mockingbird, Red-winged Blackbird, and Yellow-rumped Warbler for a total of 24. Once back at the refuge, I ran into Steve W. again, who indicated that he was heading to Forest Park, to look for Siskins. I decided to go with him; it was a worthwhile trip as we saw several species, including Pine Siskin, Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Tufted-titmouse, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, American Robin, White-throated Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Northern Mockingbird, Common Redpoll (a rarity), Red-tailed Hawk, Mourning Dove, Blue Jay, Carolina Wren, Winter Wren and American Goldfinch for a total of 22. With today's walks, I picked up several "First of the Year" and that allowed me to break the century mark...not bad for just February.
Posted by BIRDINGDUDE at 7:26 PM