Friday, October 10, 2014

Jones Beach - Holy Flock!

     I took my chances on a short walk at Jones Beach's Coast Guard Station, and wow, was I just amazed at what I saw! First off, the sky was alive, tree swallows were taking up just about every square foot of the air, I thought one might smack right into my face, they were everywhere and on the move! There is a small island just off the dock and it was filled with over 100 black bellied plovers, also in the mix were gulls, cormorants, ruddy turnstones, and a few other peeps. I turned my head for a short moment as a few of the turnstones flew to where I was perched, and in the moment I was thrilled to see a flock of black skimmers fly in mesmerizing synchronicity. It was absolutely beautiful, and I forgot for a moment that I was sitting on a dock in gull whitewash and guano. I even laid down in it just to continue capturing the flock as they flew by.
     I also had the chance to get some practice IDing those LBJ's (little brown jobs, sparrows), I had three species today, two of which are new to me, so win for me! Enjoy, I took a lot of pictures...
"Sittin' on the dock of the bay..." I think that is what this Eastern phoebe is singing while it hunts...
Just a portion of the beach, filled with American oystercatchers, double crested cormorants, and black bellied plovers.
Had 2 royal terns fly overhead, a lifer for me!
These pictures don't do justice for memorizing this was to watch... a flock of black skimmer adults and juveniles , just gorgeous!

Then they fold up those long wings and mix themselves amongst the plovers. 
Ruddy turnstones parked on the dock behind me.
Canadian geese.
Ruddy turnstone, not shy and walking towards its admirers.
In the winter black bellied plover have no black belly.
98% sure this is a savannah sparrow.
A savannah sparrow mixed in amongst beach scenery.
Pretty darn sure this is a swamp sparrow, like 90% sure.

Northern flickers are so pretty, there were so many along the parkway too!
An autumn common yellowthroat.
Savannah sparrow.
This migration season is so exciting, seeing birds in these large numbers on the move is just such a cool thing to see. This part of Jones beach is super accessible, you can wander as close or far as you want, I highly suggest a visit!