A Travellerspoint blog

February 2019

Montauk! Part 2!

Montauk Point, Long Island, NY

sunny 31 °F

Today, I took the Long Island Railroad out to Montauk Point (the FAR end of Long Island) in search of a would-be life bird, a Little Gull that has been seen there recently.

After a four hour commute, when I arrived I found out that a Dovekie had also been seen there this morning, another prospective life bird! I was pumped!

My first bird was a nice RED-THROATED LOON:
large_AF592B1B-7403-4F15-BBA8-36F919DBA626.jpeg

BONAPARTE’S GULLS abounded:
large_A42B2564-DFE5-4948-BB3C-16E1F6A0E023.jpeglarge_08C3E166-511C-4F4C-A767-5F8065A95C01.jpeglarge_AE08AB40-6A86-46ED-8597-8821D61B5369.jpeglarge_D5A0315F-F7ED-4FE2-B7A1-0F5B236DFBB5.jpeglarge_5976EE20-66D8-4CDF-9CA4-8AA35BF95A23.jpeglarge_B222DFD1-2B83-4A83-88DC-7C1326960DF8.jpeglarge_3C5588A5-FCD5-42B9-971B-A541F557475B.jpeglarge_D759D6B8-5AB4-4FAD-B32E-CEBE8E6D7651.jpeg

Another fun species, RAZORBILL, was seen a few times throughout the day:
large_5466D06B-F8CF-4742-9197-D5E49F2D0BE7.jpeg

SURF SCOTER:
large_C2B564EE-89DB-4272-B9D1-A937D7074FEE.jpeg

BLACK SCOTERS:
large_F55A7DF8-FBDA-4D70-8DAA-1D4EF80807FA.jpeg

COMMON EIDERS:
large_E91F6F6C-6C7F-4342-9E3C-B593C00BFC6C.jpeg

It was an incredibly gorgeous day with beautiful scenery:
large_432306E9-EDEC-49A9-A281-BBD99EB93712.jpeg

Then, a tiny alcid with an extremely compact bill flew by and I managed a couple blurry shots of my life-bird DOVEKIE, a cardinal-sized seabird! Too cool!!!
large_2FD91E44-61EB-4634-BA1A-083D9BAB47E2.jpeg
large_011B0FFD-8F6D-4633-A22D-1D12F5A1560B.jpeg

RED-BREASTED MERGANSER:
large_61F487CB-8793-404F-ACF8-03EC26CD6587.jpeg

COMMON LOON diving:
large_D27057B0-BB83-4A08-9CDF-3B5C99B36EC7.jpeg

Here is the famous Montauk Lighthouse, looking as regal as ever:
large_7CA8B25A-0530-4527-AFA7-77CA866DE401.jpeg

HERRING GULL:
large_CADF3D6A-4618-4AC5-A4C1-32551B8C835E.jpeg

And it was back on the long train ride to New York City. What a day!
large_23A38A4A-6A70-4117-A783-2DC16DC87431.jpeg

Alas, I missed my target bird the Little Gull, but my life-bird Dovekie certainly made up for it! Runner-up to the other auk species of the day, Razorbill, as well as all of the Bonaparte’s Gulls that were around.

Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 967 Species (1 life bird today: Dovekie!)

Posted by skwclar 21:30 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Going Loony

Oyster Bay, NY

semi-overcast 61 °F

Today before school I headed out to Nassau County on Long Island in search of a would-be life bird for me, a rare Pacific Loon that has been seen the last two days at Oyster Bay Marine Center.

It would be a tight squeeze for me because the train would drop me off at Syosset at 8:48, then I’d uber 15 minutes to Oyster Bay, and the Oyster Bay train back to the city came at 9:34. It left barely enough of a window to try for the bird but I figured something this unusual would definitely be worth it.

I found this FISH CROW once I stepped off the train in Syosset:
large_595C5A51-226E-48D7-8FA1-1D0B9B7E65C4.jpeg

The uber finally dropped me off at Florence Avenue, where the last report of it was, and after a few minutes of scanning, there was no loon in sight — not a good sign since the reports were all saying it was close to shore.

There was a female HOODED MERGANSER:
large_6CAF1CDF-D8A4-4A73-BB6B-94BE5C755167.jpeg

And a LONG-TAILED DUCK:
large_BFFF047E-9962-41D1-92C9-1AB674B25286.jpeg

So, I used google maps and SPRINTED through the town of Oyster Bay to get to the other side of the Oyster Bay Marine Center where I thought the Loon may be — my hopes were low as time was ticking by at an alarming rate.

I finally arrived ten minutes before the train was scheduled to depart and I saw a good sign: two photographers pointing their cameras at something in the marina! Lo and behold, there it was, my life bird PACIFIC LOON, a rare vagrant to the NYC area and a beautiful, beautiful bird!
large_D7CE2FBC-68FD-4D73-8E36-3994E97840F6.jpeg

I took this single picture, asked the photographers how to get to the train, and then ran to the train station. And I made it, a close shave! Whew!

Bird-of-the-day to my life bird Pacific Loon with runner-up to the Fish Crow, always a cool find this far north. What a morning!

Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 966 Species (1 life bird today: Pacific Loon)

Posted by skwclar 08:47 Archived in USA Comments (0)

My First Hitch-Hike!

Long Island, NYC

sunny 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!
large_93D0509F-8F92-4C30-80E7-40C97BE37AD8.jpeg

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:
large_DA633226-1A78-4330-89E0-2821BDD58F44.jpeg

BLACK SCOTERS also flew by:
large_1B296C9C-0227-4727-BEAD-35A0957C8EF7.jpeg

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.
large_EB8FD8E8-BDCF-4E3A-9613-0CFC4AD9AA06.jpeglarge_7BD01704-EDE0-4640-94C8-3D0207B4CCFE.jpeg

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:
large_302BB948-8C4F-4F55-B9BC-53C6C0408BE4.jpeg

Then, a bunch of gulls swooped down next to the car and we scanned for any rarer ones.
large_AD19CFC9-87DE-41A8-9F1A-E5A5D6522A79.jpeg

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.
large_0C6A03D0-2303-47DD-B9C2-8324CD522E67.jpeglarge_A3336F11-EB97-415A-AF8D-D771FA108115.jpeglarge_25BC4A2A-227D-471E-8515-01D91BB1AF08.jpeglarge_7D479885-F92D-4B4E-953D-08C84AEFBFD0.jpeglarge_7B312C2C-3AE8-459A-B275-CCA43BA97FE0.jpeglarge_38BE2619-D540-4D36-9226-6E31490AB07F.jpeglarge_3E358363-3F90-4131-B7F2-58A0D37C4085.jpeglarge_B27F4252-DBB5-4A34-8590-EF5544A532A1.jpeglarge_CD8828EE-8415-411D-9934-90AE7D542536.jpeglarge_D6CA90B8-3DF2-4BD2-BB29-9535732605BC.jpeglarge_18BAC7B8-37D3-4EFB-BA86-4DE39E8D6A11.jpeglarge_A2AE2731-56E3-413B-8AC8-E4BEBD0A75F3.jpeglarge_4A30758C-05B7-4375-B87A-94567240CA37.jpeglarge_2D7A4A23-5AE2-4AE6-9767-D1339161C924.jpeglarge_628FF968-D6EB-4BD7-A266-CB9311002A9D.jpeg

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!
large_31AD6537-C15F-489E-820D-53E8F91EC7C5.jpeg

LONG-TAILED DUCK:
large_5B2DC475-0723-4968-BD59-293F5EFE0C6D.jpeg

GREATER BLACK-BACKED GULL:
large_337E6CA5-DB1D-4DB1-B6B4-5B1C53548192.jpeg

Seal:
large_B66D7DFA-7292-4396-96C6-B26F833EC278.jpeg

Female SURF SCOTER:
large_DF9285BB-33E2-49BB-8EE7-1AC54B67BB46.jpeg

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.
large_C2A7F33F-7CEA-49FE-8234-FFDFE3BC6280.jpeglarge_2CF60B70-DCB0-4329-BF09-3539AAB3413D.jpeglarge_595A0F3D-AFDF-408D-BCA8-440B90DA01C4.jpeglarge_2624B6A0-C57B-4B7F-AA90-70BCDE6B99A5.jpeglarge_0474D3F4-6D93-41DF-9E46-0CB038CEA928.jpeglarge_88132178-1DCE-4EA3-8982-99846BDC999F.jpeg

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!

Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 965 Species (1 life bird today: Black-legged Kittiwake)

Posted by skwclar 20:19 Archived in USA Comments (2)

(Entries 1 - 3 of 3) Page [1]