Sunday, January 22, 2017

Long Island rarity round-up - 21st Jan

Last weekend was taken up by a completely unnecessary and absolutely wonderful family skiing weekend in Massachusetts, but that of course meant that a bevy of brilliant birds immediately turned up within driving distance, in eastern Long Island. I constantly checked on ebird the status of each one as the week progressed, and set off super-early on Saturday morning to try and get them all!

First stop was the furthest away, a juvenile Sandhill Crane on Wainscott Pond. There were a group of 'hunters' shooting duck on the pond itself, so I checked a nearby field where it had been seen previously and hey presto, there it was! It still has traces of brown on the wing coverts, and lacks the red front of an adult, so this is a first winter bird, almost certainly hatched somewhere in Eastern Canada last summer.

Next up was Southold at a private house on the North Fork of Long Island. A Townsend's Solitaire has been hanging around here for nearly 2 weeks. It went absent on Thursday, but I tried anyway and found it in about 10 minutes! The light was a bit rubbish, and the bird was much prettier than it looks here.
Sands Point Preserve has had a male Barrow's Goldeneye visiting every winter for a few years. I have tried a number of times each winter I've been here, but have usually been beaten back by the cold, but not today. A gorgeous, bright, warm day with no wind and the sea completely flat, and the Barrow's about 100m off-shore at the farthest reach of the preserve. Brilliant views, and it sat next to a Common Goldeneye for comparison of key features. Fantastic!

I dropped into Point Lookout on the off-chance that a Thick-billed Murre that had been seen yesterday was still around. It wasn't but I did get decent views of Purple Sandpiper, and this lovely Red-throated Loon.
A magnificent, and suspiciously fat, Red Fox at Robert Moses. Clearly habituated to people, this animal would normally be hidden away at this time of day. It had a bit of a limp as well. That, combined with its magnificent condition, suggests that this animal begs for food from people. Still a beauty though.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Trumpeter Swan at Nyack Beach State Park - 8th Jan

The first Trumpeter Swan in New York that's been reported a reasonable distance from the city since I've been in the US was reported from Nyack Beach SP last week (they are regular in winter at various sites in the north of the state). Saturday saw our first snow of the year, so traveling was dicey, but Sunday was gorgeous so off I went. The site is only half an hour from home, and the bird was easily found. Tick!

The massive all-black bill is quite obvious...

The bird was quite fearful of people, and moved away once we approached to less than about 100m.