Monday, December 26, 2016

Birding on Boxing Day

     I tried to go birding at Jones Beach yesterday in between Christmas festivities, and had to make it a very short walk with little time between everything. We came up empty handed on what we would have liked to have found, so I was determined to make today a good birding day.
     A check of the weather put a damper on my plans (pun intended), so I kept it local with Prospect and Bush Terminal Parks. I wasn't disappointed, enjoy the sights...
As per the alerts of eBird and the various birding groups I creep around, 2 of the 3 snow geese remain at the upper pool.

Both birds are immature, this ones face is stained from feeding among the mud an reeds, something that commonly happens when your plumage is white and you feed on vegetation.

These birds are "white morph" snow geese- as opposed to the "blue morph" that has a darker grey body. Once these two birds are mature they will be white as snow, with black primary feathers.
A little bit of bickering isn't unheard of, especially when you are among a pond of 150+ Canada Geese.

At Bush Terminal Park, I came to find what I was looking for... one of these gulls is not like the other ones... lacking the typical black wing-tips, this white-winged gull is a (edited) Iceland gull.
The plumage of this gull suggests it is a juvenile. As an adult they would still have white wing tips.
Among a motley crew of herring, great black baked gulls, and a cormorant... can you find him? 

There were quite a few gadwall present, many were very active, vocalizing and displaying.
A male on the left displays, white another male vocalizes and the females assesses.
The male associating closest to the female doesn't seem to care for the other male.

On the other side of the park, bufflehead, lesser scaup, and ruddy ducks gathered (as well as a few more gadwall). The buffleheads are so small, but their ego always seems far larger. 
     When I departed from Bush Terminal Park, the drops of rain began to fall and I returned home. While not as perfect a day as yesterday, weather-wise, I'm pretty happy with the overall turnout of avian things. I also got to try out my new binoculars, some 10x42's, thanks to my parents who support my addiction.
     I hope everyone had a really great holiday weekend, and can cram in some last minute birding before 2016 is up!