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Saturday, March 19, 2005

Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

It was a beautiful morning to be just about anywhere outdoors. With clear, blue sky and mid-fifty degree temperatures promised Shane and I headed to Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. It’s sort of an odd time of the year. Some of the overwintering species have begun to depart but, outside of a few, typical early arrivals, we still have a way to go before spring migration hits our local parks. Still, any day at the refuge is likely to be a good one.

Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris) on Big John's Pond

(Photo credit - Rob J)

-Click here for more info on Ring-necked Ducks-

Waterfowl was the bird family of the day. There were seventeen species on or around the West Pond. We added two more species on the East Pond and there was a lone drake Ring-necked Duck on Big John’s Pond. We weren’t able to locate any raptors and the only shorebird was a single American Oystercatcher. The oystercatcher was on a sandbar in Pumpkin Patch Channel.

Other than a very vocal Carolina Wren the South Gardens were very quiet.

We stopped at the parking lot next to the Crossbay Bridge to scan the shoreline of Grassy Bay for birds. There were 2 or 3 more oystercatchers on the opposite shore but no other shorebirds. As we were leaving Shane noticed a small crow perched on a streetlamp above the road. We hadn’t seen any Fish Crow all morning so he stopped the car. He asked me to stick my head out of the window and cry, “ca-hah”. For some strange reason I didn’t question him. I mustered my best Fish Crow impersonation and the bird obligingly responded with a short, nasal “ca-hah”. I thanked him and we went on our way.

On another subject, I was curious about what the early flycatchers and other insectivores were eating. In Prospect Park I found small areas of insect activity near the bodies of water. I looked for spots where the flies were landing and took some photos. The following are shots of the insects that are now hovering in small clouds throughout the park. They were photographed on the steel support posts of stretches of cyclone fencing. The "midges are only about 1/8" in length. I'm not sure of their exact species:

Midges (Family Chironomidae)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

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Prospect Park, 3/17/2005
Horned Grebe (Several.)
Great Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Snow Goose (Approx. 12.)
Canada Goose
Mute Swan
Wood Duck (2.)
American Wigeon
American Black Duck
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Ring-necked Duck (1, Big John's Pond.)
Greater Scaup
Lesser Scaup
Common Goldeneye
Hooded Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
American Coot
American Oystercatcher (1.)
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Monk Parakeet (Avenue I.)
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
American Crow
Fish Crow
Carolina Wren
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Northern Cardinal
Eastern Towhee
American Tree Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
House Sparrow

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