Very birdy day on Long Island

One of many Black-crowned Night-herons at Cammanns Pond Park.

One of many Black-crowned Night-herons at Cammanns Pond Park.


I finally worked out a trip to Long Island today. I was up and out early and had arrived at Cammanns Park in Merrick at 7:30 AM. I had seen BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS reported here and wanted to get one for the year. Quite an active little park and pond. I had a total of 18 BCNH’s here! There were dozens of Northern Shovelers, Mallard and Black Ducks and Canada Geese. There were also quite a few Hooded Mergansers and a pair of Northern Pintail. From there I headed right down to Jones Beach (only a few miles). I started at the Coast Guard Station. Here I had a pair of Surf Scoters, dozens of Common Loons and a few Red-throated Loons. Fifty Bonaparte’s Gulls were following a flock of feeding Red-breasted Mergansers, snatching fish when they would surface. The bushes near the station were loaded with YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS! I headed over to the West End Parking area. From there I walked out to the jetty through the dunes. This is quite a walk both distance and effort wise. The sand is quite soft and you do get a workout. My targets out there were easily found. PURPLE SANDPIPERS and RUDDY TURNSTONES. There were also about 40 BLACK SCOTERS. Also among the shorebirds were 100 Sanderlings and 40 Dunlin. One miss here was Harlequin Duck. Other birders informed me that they had just flown to Point Lookout, I would try for them there later. I tried to find the Lark Sparrow that many had already seen this morning, but missed it. I then headed to Point Lookout. On my way over I had a surprise GREAT EGRET fly up out of the marsh and across the road in front of my jeep. At Point Lookout I walked in through the town park. I immediately came upon four Tree Swallows feeding on the wing among the grasses. There were actually lots of bugs out and I’m sure they were getting their fill. There were thousands of Brant in this area, as well as probably 50 Common Loons. A few more Bonaparte’s Gulls as well. I walked along the jetty and came upon three of the six HARLEQUIN DUCKS that had been seen at west end earlier. Beautiful birds and a nice add for the year. When I got back into town, I stopped at my favorite deli and had a great sandwich there. Now that it was nearing noon, I decided to head back to the Coast Guard Station and see if the incoming tide had brought in any of the shorebirds I was missing, it had! There were 20 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS and 10 RED KNOTS on the sand bar! I must have hiked five miles in the sand altogether and was quite beat by this time. I decided to drive around to see if I could find any Boat-tailed Grackles, my only miss of the trip, but couldn’t find them. Really great day with very nice mild conditions for January at Jones Beach! Some of you may have noticed that I did a lot of birding this month. January is usually just bleak and I always try to get as big a list of birds as I possibly can. Its a lot of fun and it helps a rather dismal month pass quickly. This year I set a goal to get the most birds for the month that I ever have. My previous high was 123 species. This year I ended with 135 species for January!! Next years going to be a tough one!
A Bonaparte's Gull at the Coast Guard Station.

A Bonaparte’s Gull at the Coast Guard Station.


Ruddy Turnstone on the West End Jetty.

Ruddy Turnstone on the West End Jetty.


Black Scoters off the jetty.

Black Scoters off the jetty.


Beautiful Purple Sandpipers on the jetty.

Beautiful Purple Sandpipers on the jetty.


One of the three Harlequin Ducks at Point Lookout.

One of the three Harlequin Ducks at Point Lookout.

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2 Responses to Very birdy day on Long Island

  1. Maura says:

    Terrific photos – thanks John!

  2. Thanks Maura! Nice to hear from you!

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