Monday, January 18, 2016

Queens & Kings

     Despite frigid temperatures I was able to get out and see some decent things this weekend. In the last few days I have been able to add some species to my "30th Year List," a list of all animal species I find and can identify. Added since Friday was Northern Gannett (Seen from Plumb beach!), Snowy Owl, Muscovy Duck, Cackling Goose, Lesser Scaup, and Bonaparte's Gull. My bird list is up to 179 species, trumping the other critters I have counted.
     I took a visit on Sunday to a new location for myself, Flushing Meadows Corona Park- hoping to catch some species that have been hanging out there for a while. I missed out on the lark and clay-colored sparrow, but found the pine warbler and the mature bald eagle who has been flying over the lake.
There were also lots of squirrels, squabbling over acorns.
The lake was full of ring-billed gulls, herring gulls, and a few great black backed gulls. Also present were a lot of coots, double crested cormorants, and Canada geese.
Within this group there are 2 separate species, can you tell the difference?
Spot them yet?
The two in the middle are cackling geese, they were originally considered a subspecies of the Canada Goose, until very recent.
They are noticeably smaller than their larger cousins, also sporting a much smaller neck and very wedge-shaped, short bill. The one on the right also has a darker chest with a light neck ring.
I was very happy to finally see these birds, but they were admittedly tough to differentiate at times.
     Today I visited Bush Terminal Park and the Shore Road Promenade. I had plans to continue on to the Salt Marsh but cold and hunger overcame me. The wind was wicked today, and even with my monopod to help me stabilize, this collection of photos are subpar.. actually I was not really happy with much I took this weekend, but meh, the real joy was that I got some good finds!
An American Wigeon catches some waves.

Gulls gather on backside of the rock jetty to escape the wind and tuck their beaks in to stay warm. 
A scenic fly-by by a mixed group of ducks.
Gulls soaring on the wind in industry city.
I found this little Bonaparte's gull having a rough go of things, his left leg is kinked and not allowing his to use it when standing or to tuck it in properly during flight.

At Shore Road, I found lots of brant, lots and lots and lots...
..and lots. With double gloves, layers, the mega arctic snow boots, giant hat, neck warmer, and everything-- I gave in and packed it up to head home. The birds are much tougher than I.