First stop was Jones beach, we went to the Coast Guard station and checked out the waters on the island side of Jones Beach.
- Geography Lesson: Jones Beach is a barrier island - it's basically a thin strip of land that is not connected to Long Island. As a barrier beach, this is what takes the brunt of the storms and in a way "protects" the mainland. So, one side of Jones Beach, faces the Atlantic Ocean, the other side faces Long Island, and in-between the beach and Long Island are calmer waters, marshes, and small islands. The Coast Guard station is on the side not facing the ocean, hence "the island side."
We looked for seals, but we (maybe) saw one, way far off in the distance. But we did see tons of birds- including my first horned lark!
Oh, and a little disclaimer, I decided I'd play around with cropping and "editing" - I put that in quotations, because, really, I don't know what I'm doing- consider it an experiment - my pictures.
|Brant - these are a type of goose that winters in the NY area. You can find them gathering in all sorts of areas, including the medians and grassy sides of the parkways.|
|Female red-breasted mergansers - these ducks can dive and have thin serrated bills for catching fish.|
|A horned grebe looks VERY different from its breeding plumage. They have stunning red eyes! This one was diving and did have something in its mouth at some point.|
|Pretty sure this is just a herring gull, but you know what? He looks damn good and he knows it.|
|A first for me, horned larks! These are the only species of lark native to North America. The little horns - really just feathers - really up their cuteness factor.|
|A pair of American black ducks waddle out to what was West Pond. I thought they were so cute as their rear ends wiggled in unison.|
|A male Northern Cardinal feeding on some berries. They are so common, but let's be real, they are always beautiful and never get old.|
|Mute swans preen and two Canadian geese nap on what was West Pond.|
|In low tide, black ducks, Northern pintails, mallards, and green-wing teals (another first for me) feed in pairs.|
|You are now looking over West Pond. The fence across the way is where the trails loops - or did loop. The opening to the left of the fence is where West Pond now meets the bay.|