Long Island Birding

A Saltmarsh Sparrow at Gardiner County Park.

A Saltmarsh Sparrow at Gardiner County Park.

I headed out to Long Island again this morning with some specific sites to bird and target birds in mind. It was a soggy start to the morning when just before I reached my first destination, it began to pour. I only decided to go the last minute last evening when I saw that rain was taken out of the forecast for Long Island today. Once again, they were wrong. My first destination was Connotquot State Park where I was going to try for the Yellow-throated Warbler. When I pulled up to the gate, I was surprised and disappointed when the woman informed me that this is a walk-in only park. I hadn’t realized this. Now it was raining harder than ever and she showed me a map where the bird has been seen. It was far from our location. With regrets, I scrapped the chase for the warbler. I then headed for Gardiner County Park. Here I was hoping for some shorebirds, waders and sparrows. I wasn’t disappointed. The rain let up to a few drops here and there and the birds cooperated. I almost immediately found my target species. SALTMARSH SPARROW and SEASIDE SPARROW! Waders and Shorebirds were in short supply however and only Great Egrets and Glossy Ibis were seen. I then moved on to Captree Island. Here was looking for more shorebirds. I found many. Black-bellied Plover, Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers, Dunlin and more. Unfortunately, not one of my targets was among them. I worked my way along the barrier island, hitting Gilgo Beach, Tobay etc. All of this hoping for some target waders. That didn’t happen. Once again, an abundance of Great Egrets and Glossy Ibis were all that were found. At Jones Beach Coast Guard Station, more of the same shorebirds. I then headed to Nickerson Beach. I was sure one of my target species would be there, and indeed they were. Nearly 200 Black Skimmers were resting on the beach among many Common Terns and American Oystercatchers. With another success under my belt, I headed to Jamaica Bay. Here I immediately ran into my good friends Gordon and Lori Lam! We birded the area together and they gave me some good tips on shorebirds and waders. While we had many birds at Jamaica Bay, many responding to the Horseshoe Crab spawn, I missed all of my targets. We did have nice birds like Red Knot, Ruddy Turnstone, Semipalmated and Black-bellied Plover and you guessed it Great Egret and Glossy Ibis. I finally pulled myself away, looking forward to Gordon and Lori’s visit here next week, and headed home. All in all a great day of birding!

A distant Seaside Sparrow at Gardiner County Park

A distant Seaside Sparrow at Gardiner County Park

Black Skimmers, American Oystercatcher and Common Terns at Nickerson Beach.

Black Skimmers, American Oystercatcher and Common Terns at Nickerson Beach.

My best photo of the day, an immature Yellow-crowned Night-heron at Jamaica Bay.

My best photo of the day, an immature Yellow-crowned Night-heron at Jamaica Bay.

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2 Responses to Long Island Birding

  1. Hi John. I was great running into you today as well. While i am sorry we were unable to get you on your target birds, it was a nice time and thanks again for pointing out the ruddys and knots thru your scope. Looking forward to seeing you at the bash for memorial day weekend.

  2. Gordon,
    Definitely looking forward to next weekend, we should have a great time! John

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