Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Suffolk County birding nets, Arctic Tern, Western Sandpiper, Grasshopper Sparrow + others…

On Sunday, I went on a Suffolk all day, “Dawn to Dusk” birding trip that was pulled together by fellow blogger and birder Corey Finger, (see Corey’s work at 10000birds.com). The two of us left Queens around 4:35 A.M. in the drizzle; however, by the time we got onto the Southern State Parkway, it was raining buckets. Visibility was poor and we hydroplaned a few times along the way. Nevertheless, we made it safely to our first stop at the Calverton Grasslands; within a few minutes of birding, we landed a couple of target birds, in Grasshopper Sparrow and Eastern Meadowlark. We did look for Blue Grosbeak and Bobolink, but we did not notice either. Our second stop, we were going to try for Red-headed Woodpecker, but realized that it may be too early and so we changed course and headed to another location trying again for Blue Grosbeak. We also tried at the same location for Bobolink, but no success. We did pick up a nice looking Field Sparrow. The drizzle, which we had tolerated, became a bit more incessant and so we hopped back into the car and headed to another spot. Here we tried for Vesper Sparrow, but struck out. However, we had excellent looks at two Prairie Warblers and another Field Sparrow. Enough time had passed for the Woodpeckers to be out and about and so we headed back to the location we had visited earlier. Within about 5 minutes of walking an Adult Red-headed Woodpecker flew right across the path we were walking giving us great looks as it landed in an Oak Tree. We also picked up Eastern Wood Pee-wee as we headed back to the car. Our next stop we looked hard for Northern Bobwhite and Orchard Oriole, but struck out on both birds. We did get Indigo Bunting, Black-billed Cuckoo, and lots of ticks…thank goodness for knee high boots. We escaped tick land unscathed and headed to another location known for breeding Hermit Thrush. Not only did we get the Hermit Thrush, we also got Ovenbird, Pine Warbler, Veery and a surprise bird we heard was a Least Flycatcher. By then, it was time to head out to one of the prime locations for the day, Cupsogue Beach. We made one stop at a local airport before heading out where we heard and saw Eastern Meadowlark and Killdeer. While on our way to Cupsogue, Corey put in a call to Shaibal Mitra, one of the top birders in NY State, who we were meeting at the said location. Shai relayed to Corey that a possible Leach’s Storm Petrel was spotted at Tiana Beach by Andy Baldelli. We again changed course and headed over to the location and joined another top NY state birder, in Tom Burke who was accompanied by Gail Benson. A few minutes later, we were joined by Shaibal Mitra, Pat Lindsay and Andy Baldelli. We did some sea watching in the hopes of spotting the bird, but could not locate as it probably was long gone by then. We did get nice looks at a Northern Gannet and a Wilson’s Storm Petrel. The group then decided to leave for Cupsogue. We were informed of breeding Roseate Terns just east of Triton Lane and Tom Burke pointed them out for us. After circling back to the Tiana Beach parking lot to view an immature Lesser Black-backed Gull that Shai had found, we headed out to Cupsogue. Out on the mudflats near Moriches Inlet, we picked up a second year Arctic Tern along with a Western Sandpiper. What does one do in the presence of such top birders who were generous in sharing their time and knowledge; well, I just kept quiet, observed and listened. It was a joy to observe and listen Shai, Pat, Tom and Andy discussing the Arctic Tern and all the possible things you could think of with regards to its plumage and presence. It was a humbling and learning experience. The entire trip was great, but the time spent in Cupsogue was unique and a definite highlight of the trip making the ride all worth it rain and all. Tags: , , , , ,

Total Species seen: 91
  1. American Crow
  2. American Goldfinch
  3. American Kestrel
  4. American Oystercatcher
  5. American Robin
  6. Arctic Tern
  7. Baltimore Oriole
  8. Barn Swallow
  9. Black Skimmer
  10. Black-bellied Plover
  11. Black-billed Cuckoo
  12. Black-capped Chickadee
  13. Boat-tailed Grackle
  14. Brant
  15. Brown-headed Cowbird
  16. Canada Goose
  17. Carolina Wren
  18. Cedar Waxwing
  19. Chipping Sparrow
  20. Clapper Rail
  21. Common Grackle
  22. Common Tern
  23. Common Yellowthroat
  24. Double-crested Cormorant
  25. Downy Woodpecker
  26. Dunlin
  27. Eastern Bluebird
  28. Eastern Kingbird
  29. Eastern Meadowlark
  30. Eastern Phoebe
  31. Eastern Towhee
  32. Eastern Wood-Pewee
  33. European Starling
  34. Field Sparrow
  35. Fish Crow
  36. Glossy Ibis
  37. Grasshopper Sparrow
  38. Gray Catbird
  39. Great Black-backed Gull
  40. Great Crested Flycatcher
  41. Great Egret
  42. Hermit Thrush
  43. Herring Gull
  44. House Finch
  45. House Sparrow
  46. House Wren
  47. Indigo Bunting
  48. Killdeer
  49. Laughing Gull
  50. Least Flycatcher
  51. Least Sandpiper
  52. Least Tern
  53. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  54. Little Blue Heron
  55. Mallard
  56. Mourning Dove
  57. Mute Swan
  58. Northern Cardinal
  59. Northern Gannet
  60. Northern Mockingbird
  61. Osprey
  62. Ovenbird
  63. Pine Warbler
  64. Piping Plover
  65. Prairie Warbler
  66. Purple Martin
  67. Red Knot
  68. Red-eyed Vireo
  69. Red-headed Woodpecker
  70. Red-tailed Hawk
  71. Red-winged Blackbird
  72. Ring-billed Gull
  73. Rock Pigeon
  74. Roseate Tern
  75. Ruddy Turnstone
  76. Sanderling
  77. Seaside Sparrow
  78. Semipalmated Plover
  79. Semipalmated Sandpiper
  80. Short-billed Dowitcher
  81. Snowy Egret
  82. Song Sparrow
  83. Tree Swallow
  84. Veery
  85. Western Sandpiper
  86. White-breasted Nuthatch
  87. White-rumped Sandpiper
  88. Wild Turkey
  89. Willet
  90. Wilson's Storm-Petrel
  91. Yellow Warbler
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corey said...

"I just kept quiet, observed and listened."

I did the same...nice post and nice birding with you.


Thank you again Corey for the invite! Likewise, it was very nice birding with you. I did my best to keep up with you :)

Dawn Fine said...

Looks like you had an excellent day of birding dispite the weather!
I hope you can make our outing in CT.
If you know any other Bird/nature bloggers that would like to attend please refer them to my blog post and I will add them to our trip.
I will blog about details of the trip as time gets closer.

Anonymous said...

Hi Andrew - I'm jealous of you taking this trip and of the fact that you were able to do that quiet observing and listening to experts while on it. I'm hoping to head out there within the week but I think I might have to exclude Cupsogue as I've been told not to go there by myself since I could get stuck in the mud and need help.


Hi Debbie - thanks for visiting. It was really special being around those folks and they were so generous with their time. Corey was great to bird with as he has that drive to bird as long as one's energy allows it and you know me, I am the same way.

I saw that you went out with Sy Joe and Sam and picked up the Sedge Wren. That must have been special.

Regarding Cupsogue...I would advise on not going on the mud flats alone. If you do go, then walk with shorts and water shoes. I had no shorts with me this Sunday, but decided to roll up my pants and go for it. There are some channels there that are not shallow and one could easily get into a bit of trouble if they are not careful.


Hi Dawn - thanks for visiting. I am going to contact you because I would like to get some more information on the itinerary and expectations. Love that you drive this sort of stuff!

Mike said...

Great sparrow pic. I hope you gave Corey a few photography pointers!


Hi Mike - thanks for stopping by. I don't know about giving Corey any pointers on photography. He held his own and then some as evidenced by the Arctic Tern shots.