Shinnecock Inlet and Dune Road, Long Island

Today, Lance Verderame and I traveled to Long Island to try for some of the great birds that have been being seen at Shinnecock Inlet and Dune Road. We arrived at 8:30 this morning and spent two hours searching for our target birds. We were a bit perplexed when we were unable to find any of our target birds. We decided to head for some of the local ponds along the south shore for more targets. Once again we were thwarted, finding all of the ponds completely frozen over. We took a break for lunch and headed back to Shinnecock, hoping for better results. We were not disappointed. First we went along Dune Road where we found a Nelson’s Sparrow! The bird came out three times over about 15 minutes and was identified by the vibrant orange throat and upper breast. From there, we returned to the inlet, where I immediately spotted an immature male KING EIDER among a raft of Common Eiders, Surf and Black Scoters. Before I could get a pic of the bird, the entire raft took flight and out to the ocean beyond the jetties. A small flock remained, and Lance immediately spotted a female King Eider among only seven birds. I was able to take many photos of this bird. We shortly found a first winter ICELAND GULL just off the jetty. We never found the previously reported Glaucous Gull or Black-legged Kittiwakes. We were also unable to find the Red-necked Grebe at the Boat Basin. We then departed the inlet and headed back out Dune Road where we found an AMERICAN BITTERN and a BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON. A great day after all with 40 species seen.

Surf Scoters at Shinnecock Inlet

Surf Scoters at Shinnecock Inlet


Female King Eider at Shinnecock Inlet.

Female King Eider at Shinnecock Inlet.


Black-crowned Night-heron along Dune Road.

Black-crowned Night-heron along Dune Road.


Female King Eider.

Female King Eider.


Iceland Gull in flight over jetty.  Bird upper left.

Iceland Gull in flight over jetty. Bird upper left.

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4 Responses to Shinnecock Inlet and Dune Road, Long Island

  1. Wilma Amthor says:

    Great post John. You are really good, I can’t tell the difference between the gulls, at least not yet, maybe someday!

    • Wilma, check out the wing tips of the bird on the upper left. You will note there is no black at all in the wing tips. Also, note the all black bill of this bird. This indicates it is a first year Iceland Gull. You’ll get them eventually! John

  2. I love when you go to Long Island John, it makes me look forward to my next family visit that much more. Love the Iceland Gull in flight – beautiful.

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