Long Island, NYC
Saturday 2 February 2019 31 °F
Today, I birded Montauk Point on the far eastern tip of Long Island, and thanks to a generous birder named Dave, later Shinnecock Bay on the southern coast of the island. It was a chilly but beautiful day to be out, full of birds!
I knew I was in a beautiful part of the state when I got this view from the train!
The train pulled into Montauk around 10:45am and I was soon to the point via taxi. My target bird was Black-legged Kittiwake, which have been seen there recently — I possibly saw these off of Breezy Point in Queens last fall but could never quite clinch the ID due to distance.
Upon arriving at the North Overlook at Montauk, I found this SURF SCOTER:
BLACK SCOTERS also flew by:
Then, a friendly border named Dave and I spotted a small gull that fluttered over the water, occasionally swooping down like a tern. Sure enough, we had it — my life bird BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE! Too cool! This is part of a continuing invasion of these birds around the Long Island waters, bringing unprecedented numbers of this species close to sure — usually this bird is a pelagic species only found far from shore.
Then, Dave told me he was headed to Shinnecock Bay and I asked him if I could hitch a ride with him. He accepted — Dave, if you ever read this blog post, THANK YOU!
We first made a stop at Montauk Harbor where we found a SANDERLING:
Then, a bunch of gulls swooped down next to the car and we scanned for any rarer ones.
Sure enough, a white-winged gull turning out to be an ICELAND GULL flew in, allowing for great photo ops! By far the best view I have ever gotten of this uncommon species! Note one classic field mark of this bird: its completely white wings, as most other gulls have black wingtips.
Then, we headed to Shinnecock Bay on the south side of Long Island in the Hamptons where I immediately spotted a RAZORBILL, such a cool find!
GREATER BLACK-BACKED GULL:
Female SURF SCOTER:
There was a huge raft of mainly COMMON EIDERS with a few BLACK SCOTERS moving around the inlet area. I scanned the entire flock, braving the bitter wind whipping across the jetty for a King Eider seen here this morning, but it was to no avail.
An absolutely delightful day of birding on Long Island! Bird-of-the-day to my life bird Black-legged Kittiwake with runners-up to Iceland Gull & Razorbill. Stay tuned!
World Life List: 965 Species (1 life bird today: Black-legged Kittiwake)