Friday, April 17, 2009

Birding at Hempstead Lake Park…

Yesterday, I was hoping before the Barn Owl work that I could have done some birding at Hempstead Lake Park. I had asked my friend Don Riepe if he was interested and he was all for it on Wednesday but when Thursday came around he instead suggested Forest Park. A subsequent visit there turned up nothing out of the ordinary. Today, I went by myself to Hempstead Lake Park in search of the Prothonotary Warbler that was reported by several birders as being sighted around Schodack Pond. I got to the park around 10:00 am and I headed out for the pond. As I got to the location, I met birders Bob O’Neil and Robert Grover, who were both in search of the same bird. Neither had seen the bird and so we all went off on our separate ways in search for the bird. My search took me along the bank of the stream that ran out of Schodack and I quickly picked up both Ruby and Golden-crowned Kinglets. While listening to the various calls, I picked up several Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Palm Warblers and a lone Northern Rough-winged Swallow all FOY (first of the year) birds; however, there was no sign of any Pine or Prothonotary warblers. On my way back, I spotted Bob and Robert hurrying towards me, they had seen the Prothonotary; Robert, had spotted it first and told Bob who in turn was trying to locate me. By the time they found me, it had moved on. Not at all dissuaded, I dug in for the wait comforting myself with the knowledge that the bird was still around. Bob and Robert soon left and I met two other birders Larry and Mike. Mike was reminding me that we had met at Jamaica Bay chasing down a Wilson’s Phalarope, when I saw movement in the pond. I quickly got my bins on the location and there it was, the Prothonotary in all its glory. It flew in and out on the edge of the pond, but nowhere near that I could get a decent photo. Since, I had already put in an hour or so, I decided that I would wait it out for a photo. Larry and Mike soon left and I was joined by even more birders, Jim and a delightful gentleman by the name of Ralph Cioffi who had been birding for many, many years and apparently was no longer able to get around very easy. In fact Jim had brought a chair for him to sit by the pond. Ralph was very affable and after chatting with him and learning that it was two years since he had seen a Prothonotary, I decided that I had to get him one today. After about an hour waiting in which I had walked to the beginning of the pond and back. I saw the bird again, this time I got a couple of photos; better yet, I was able to point it out to Ralph who had good looks. While congratulating Ralph, I was joined by another respected birder Sy Schiff; while chatting with Sy, the Prothonotary flew in again and this time I was able to get closer to the edge of the pond and really take in this bird. The looks I had were spectacular and I was able to get several more photos. After about another half an hour or so Sy, who had already birded Jamaica Bay decided he was going to head out and feeling quite pleased with the day’s results I called it a day as well. Share with Bookmark and Share

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