Sunday, September 14, 2014

Biking and Birding!

     I picked up a bagel breakfast and got out early on my bike. I ate my bagel in Sheepshead Bay on a pier with envious onlookers. I think they mostly were envious of that smoked salmon lox spread. The morning was cool, cloudy, and windy, with rain threatening later on in the day.
A great black-backed gull gives me the eye, for not sharing my bagel.
Juvenile herring gull on a dilapidated dock.
With Brighton Beach behind them.
     After breakfast, the next stop was Plumb Beach. Tide was high and still coming in, which made there little too see. I still got the pleasure of getting a lifer and enjoying an egret in flight.
I have been seeing a male black scoter at Dead Horse Bay, but another male plus a female-- plus two additional females have been reported at Plumb Beach, and all four were there. A boat came by and spooked this female into flight, after a quick circle, she was back with the male and two females. 
Female black scoters lack the orange knob on the bill and have white cheeks and neck, while males are over all dark.
Here is the male, straightening up out of the water. With the wind, the water was choppy!
The salt marsh that fills up at high tide between the beach and the Belt Parkway.
This was a great surprise, a juvenile Northern harrier, a first for me! 
Great egret fishing at high tide in the marsh. 
This egret flew from place to place, when it finally settled it began catching fish. 

A semipalmated plover is looking a bit frazzled in the wind, and dwarfed by the washed up horseshoe crab.
     Since I didn't get much of a show at Plumb Beach, just a short ride away is the Salt Marsh Nature Center in Marine Park. Didn't see too much more there, but as always, a very enjoyable place to walk and explore.
Was greeted by not one but at least 4 monarchs feeding and fluttering around the garden containing butterfly bushes near the bike racks.
2 osprey were constantly circling the area. 
A Canadian goose become much more than a Canadian goose when captured in flight. Geese tend to be the poster child for migration, because of their picturesque "V" formation and their honks of encouragement when in formation. Many Canadian geese do migrate and pass through the area, but some are residents to the area, remaining here, 
Love love love the wings of birds in flight! 
In the world of birding, sparrows casually are sometimes referred to as LBJ's- little brown jobs... and this LBJ has me stumped. I am very sure it is not a song sparrow. It looks close to a savannah sparrow, but has no yellow above the eyes. It also looks like a Lincoln's sparrow, but has no buff color to its breast or a buff colored "mustache" from its beak to under its cheeks, my last guess is perhaps a juvenile swamp sparrow... any ideas? Give your input in the comments!

This is the time of year also when birds are on, or are about to get on the move-- MIGRATION! If you would like to help birds have an easier time on the wing, here are some very simple things you can do --