Monday, June 2, 2014

A cruise to Jamaica.... Bay. Queens.

     Yesterday, my husband and I went on an expedition with New York City Audubon and their first summer eco cruise of the year. The boat ride took us out in the evening to Jamaica Bay, Queens (part of the Gateway National Seashore) from South street Seaport, in Manhattan. It was three hours that included a swing past Hoffman and Swinburne Islands, past the Brooklyn Beaches and the old Canarsie/Rockaway Landfills.
     We got the chance to see nesting birds, like great egrets and double crested cormorants, shore birds, like American oystercatchers, willets, and some unidentifiable sandpipers (bird ID's are hard when most everything is back lit), wading birds like little blue herons, black and yellow crowned night herons, great and snowy egrets, and glossy ibis. We also saw many ring billed, herring, and greater black backed gulls, as well as Foster's and common terns. Most beautiful was the sunset and views we had, including a lovely glimpse of a peregrine falcon, and a fun treat of going past a subway drawbridge. Camera work is hard, especially as the boat bobbles in the water- while a smooth ride, in the wind and while moving, out of over 200 photos the best are below:
A great egret is dwarfed by the Verrazano Bridge, a GIANT container ship, and One World Trade.
Double crested cormorants nesting on Hoffman Island.
Great Egrets also nest on Hoffman Island, one preens and shows off the beautiful train of plumes, that almost resulted in their extinction as they were prized for hats in the early 1900's. 
Herring and greater black back gulls - the blackbacks are larger and have darker wings.
Cormorants on a jetty to Swinburne Island, with the parachute jump of Coney Island in the background. 
The guano of the cormorants is so acidic, it kills and destroys the trees, which is characteristic in nesting colonies. The old quarantine building here was demolished during hurricane Sandy.
I love some of the precariously hanging nests towards the top...

One of the peregrine falcons that nests on the Gil Hodge's Bridge - I don't know who's watching who!

This drawbridge allows the A-train to get from Ozone Park down to the Rockaways. It was cool to watch, I have never really been in the presence of such machinery. Check out the bridge swiveling and us saying hi to the bridge master....

Views like this make the city seems so small, in comparison to the rest of the world...
A back-lit American oyster catcher- I love the look of these birds, very handsome with that red-orange bill. 
An oystercatcher doing as its name implies.
A yellow-crowned night heron is cleared for landing, with JFK airport in the background.
An amazing vantage point for sunset over Manhattan...
A greater black back gull is lit warmly by the sunset. 
I think we was checking to see if we had anything good to share with him... 
A crescent moon appears as the sun departs. 

     I highly suggest the Audubon Cruises, they are informative and always have something good to see. They also allow you to view the city in a different way. The cruise is wonderful as it allows you to see how wild New York City can be, if you go out looking for it. The cruises run all summer by NYC water taxi & Audubon and go to three different locations depending on the day, check them out and happy sailing!