Monday, November 19, 2018

Birding in Good Company

     On Saturday a group of us got together, compliments of my friend Jeffrey, and met up at Jones Beach to do some birding. Jeffrey, an ambitious birder set us a goal of sighting 50 species. We saw 52! It included a good show of raptors, some target species, like Horned Larks, some rarities like parula and vesper sparrow, and some unexpected birds like American bittern.
    It was a great day out with friends new and old, just talking scoters, sky Lamborghinis, and LBJ's. Despite the cold, it was a good trip!
Not a rarity... brant.

A warm, morning sun-lit common eider. 

It was one of two, near the coast guard station and very close to shore.

Eiders always look so wise, with those high set eyes on such a huge head, attached to an equally large, wedged bill; good for helping to grab shellfish!

We missed the crossbills, instead we got a dangler red-breasted nuthatch. 
Don't worry nuthatch, we still enjoyed seeing you!

After a failed crossbill attempt, we walked to the west end, where we got a scoter show with a long-tailed duck interlude.

Love these tough, diving nuggets!

Oh, and we saw more common eiders!
The straight between west end and point lookout was active with eider, the three scoter species, both loons, and harbor seals!

The creepy clownish looking surf scoter.

A bird that from afar, we were all stumped. We crept closer and closer, only to find out...

... it was a very photogenic female house finch.

A sky Lamborghini (peregrine falcon) with a full crop!
Two peregrines were working the beach together. Other raptors included northern harrier (one of which a grey ghost male), cooper's hawk, and American Kestrel.


One dark-eyed Junco helps us toward our goal of 50 species, getting us into those upper 40's.

While attempting to spy horned lark, we found a vesper sparrow! Jeffrey and I saw flashes of white from the tail, but it didn't seem like a junco, and when we spotted the bird, we were pleasantly surprised and happy to have this species on our list for the day.

A little late, a little Northern Parula.

This little warbler best get a move on. It survived the snow we had last week, but it and another we spotted earlier in the day best get on their way south.

Pine siskins and other winter finches are something to look forward to this winter, it's only November and some good stuff is showing up and it makes me quite hungry to find them... Grosbeaks, crossbills, redpolls - I want to see them all!

Thank you, Jones Beach, for a great trip!

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