Yesterday, my girlfriend Tian and I went out for a great birding & beach adventure in Queens! We started at Jamaica Bay, where I was hoping to possibly find my life-bird Gull-bilked Tern. I was able to rent Tian some binoculars for the day from the visitor center, which she loved using!
One highlight of our first walk around the West Pond was the flowers — we particularly admired the Beach Rose.
Butterflies abounded as well, including this Red-spotted Purple Admiral:
And this Common Buckeye:
Several SNOWY EGRETS were nice to see:
YELLOW WARBLER — Tian got beautiful views of this one:
A single COMMON TERN flew by:
A few shorebird species made fly-bys throughout the day, including this flock of LESSER YELLOWLEGS:
OSPREY with a fish:
Immature EASTERN KINGBIRD:
FORSTER’S TERN flew by, always a nice species to find:
As well as this BOAT-TAILED GRACKLE, a Jamaica Bay-area specialty:
The squat appearance and heavy breast barring lead me to think this falcon is a Merlin, but it would be fairly rare in NYC this time of year. Any thoughts?
WILLET — quite a nice assortment of shorebirds flying by!
Then, we birded the other side of the road, walking over to the East Pond where there was an extremely high number of birds. Most were common species such as Mallard or this MUTE SWAN, but there were a few goodies as well.
BLUE-WINGED TEAL with one GREEN-WINGED TEAL (right):
GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS with CANADA GEESE:
GLOSSY IBIS, SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS, & a STILT SANDPIPER: all very quality birds!
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON with CANADA GEESE and MUTE SWANS — this photo can only give a snippet of the huge number of waterbirds present yesterday.
One NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH made a brief appearance:
As did a CEDAR WAXWING:
Beautiful but far-away male WOOD DUCK:
One of the perks of birding Jamaica Bay is seeing beautiful views of low-flying airplanes into JFK airport — here is Etihad Airways from Abu Dhabi.
AMERICAN WIGEON flybys:
LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER with an unidentified duck species in its confusing eclipse plumage:
Unfortunately, we failed to find the target bird the Gull-billed Tern. I think this species migrates back south early so I may have missed it for the year.
After dinner, we arrived to Jacob Riis Park where beautiful crashing waves provided a nice backdrop for a group of about ninety DUNLIN & SANDERLING:
Tian and I enjoyed a little bird of birding, swimming, and soaking up the evening sun. A fun way to wrap up the day! Here I am with my “bird-of-the-day” yesterday, haha!
Stay tuned — I think I will go out again tomorrow!
World Life List: 975 Species