A Travellerspoint blog

On the hunt for Bruce’s lifers

Jones Beach State Park, NY

semi-overcast 67 °F

Today, I met up with my friend Bruce B who was in town following a cruise to Bermuda and we decided on Jones Beach State Park as our location to hit today. There had been a couple notable birds including Marbled Godwits (a would-be lifer for Bruce and a NYS lifer for me), and Black Skimmers, a would-be lifer for Bruce and a noteworthy bird since it is getting quite unseasonably late for them.

We arrived at Jones Beach State Park and before even stepping out of the car, I had spotted Bruce’s first lifer of the day: a NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD! Though common here, Mockingbirds are not found in western or northern Wisconsin where Bruce calls home. Awesome!

YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS abounded in the bushes.

We made a bee-line for the sandbars behind the Coast Guard Station where the Godwits and Skimmers had been reported and immediately found a nice conglomeration of birds: BRANT geese, one FORSTER’S TERN (center), and three shorebird species (from largest to smallest shorebirds pictured here: BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, DUNLIN, and SANDERLING.

More of the birds above with a RING-BILLED GULL:

There was also a small group of GREEN-WINGED TEAL:

We found three immature BLACK SKIMMERS which were lifers for Bruce though I foolishly accidentally deleted my photos of these. I will upload Bruce’s photos when he sends them!

I spotted a lone female SURF SCOTER in the bay:

And then there were two:


Black-bellied Plover in flight:

Over in the dunes we looked for the pale “Ipwisch” Savannah Sparrows rumored to be around, but could only turn up “regular” SAVANNAH SPARROWS:

And we had a few seabirds during a brief seawatch such as Bruce’s lifer BLACK SCOTERS (I got my lifer Black Scoters on the Long Island Coast, too!):

And NORTHERN GANNET was great to see:

A few AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS in a swale back near the visitor center:

And right as Bruce and Kathy dropped me back off at the train station, I snagged Bruce another lifer: FISH CROW on top of the Dunkin’ Donuts! Awesome!

There were a good number of them around and they confirmed their identity by calling.

A wonderful day out and fantastic to bird with Bruce. Black Skimmer would be my bird-of-the-day had I not deleted my photos of it, so Black Scoter will take the prize. Runner-up to Fish Crow and honorable mention to Northern Mockingbird, Bruce’s other lifers today. Finding other birders lifers is always exhilarating, especially in a location where it is tough to gain new lifers oneself.

Stay tuned: my next adventure for this week’s “Saturday Series” will take me to Fisher Island, NY via ferry with my friend Will and his friend Skyler. Hopefully we will get a few more seabirds, and it is supposed to be a beautiful Indian Summer day.

Happy birding,
World Life List: 1142 Species

36 avian species identified today:
1. Brant
2. Canada Goose
3. Mallard
4. American Black Duck
5. Green-winged Teal
6. Surf Scoter
7. Black Scoter
8. Rock Pigeon
9. Black-bellied Plover
10. Dunlin
11. Sanderling
12. Ring-billed Gull
13. Herring Gull
14. Great Black-backed Gull
15. Forster’s Tern
16. Black Skimmer
17. Northern Gannet
18. Double-crested Cormorant
19. Great Egret
20. Downy Woodpecker
21. Fish Crow
22. Tree Swallow
23. Black-capped Chickadee
24. Red-breasted Nuthatch
25. Golden-crowned Kinglet
26. American Robin
27. Northern Mockingbird
28. European Starling
29. House Sparrow
30. House Finch
31. Yellow-rumped Warbler
32. Chipping Sparrow
33. Dark-eyed Junco
34. White-throated Sparrow
35. Savannah Sparrow
36. Song Sparrow

Posted by skwclar 00:22 Archived in USA

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