Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Jones Beach Birding...

Despite the paucity of birds, I managed a decent showing over the weekend while birding on Long Island. Most of my birding occurred at Jones Beach covering the West End area. Migration was minimal and as a result land birds were scarce but as I have found out with a little patience and work one could find birds. For lands birds, a YELLOW BREASTED CHAT, seen near the entrance to the fisherman's path near the Coast Guard Station was a nice surprise on Saturday.

On Sunday, a pale looking Myiarchus had me wondering if it was something other than Myiarchus crinitus. Despite a good effort to relocate it, I was not able to re-find it and I am letting it go as a pale looking Great Crested Flycatcher although not a young bird because my scope views showed an adult bird with very worn tail feathers.  The other notable bird on Sunday was a Caspian Tern that stayed for a few minutes then took off heading towards Point Lookout.

Shorebirds were in small numbers and the best birds were seen on Saturday when I managed AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER, PECTORAL SANDPIPER, RED KNOT and my best bird of the weekend a DUNLIN in juvenile plumage. I was alerted to the presence of the latter by my friend Michael McBrien and together we spent some time studying the plumage. The opportunity of seeing a Dunlin in juvenile plumage this far south from the breeding grounds is a rare one. All of the juvenile Dunlins I have seen in New York, were always into their Pre-basic molt by the time they arrived so this was quite the treat for me.

The only other eventful occurrences at Jones Beach were TWICE observing a Great Black-backed Gull taking out an Oystercatcher both on Saturday and Sunday. I have some video capture which I will upload at some time but I will warn viewers that it is not for the faint of heart. The other really neat observation was the some 2,000 plus Tree Swallows that were putting on a display at first near the exits of the West End II parking lot and then moving on to other locations on the beach. They would swirl around in this huge vortex and land in the parking lot where they would rest before taking off again. Really neat to watch. At one point while looking at them, I was surrounded by Tree Swallows on the ground mere feet away from me.

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