Friday, November 11, 2005

Jones Beach in the cold

West End 2 parking lot

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Joe, Sean, John and I picked the first frigid morning of the season to drive out to Jones Beach in search of a Cave Swallow.
Cave Swallows (Petrochelidon fulva) are a southwestern species and, for whatever reasons, has been observed in the northeast in increased frequency over recent years. On November 6th over 300 migrating Cave Swallows were observed near the western end of Lake Ontario!

A large, swirling flock of Tree Swallows fought the gusts and continuously circled the area. Unfortunately, as hard as we tried, we couldn't pull a Cave Swallow out the flock. I'm not very experienced at estimating the numbers of individuals in a single flock. We thought that there may have been around 500 birds total so I counted each one in a single photograph that I took today. I was surprised to tally a little over 500 in just one frame. With that in mind I would "guesstimate" that there were easily 1,000 Tree Swallows present.

Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) at Jones Beach

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Also at Jones Beach was a Clay-colored Sparrow feeding along the median strip. The cooperative bird gave us long looks.

Clay-colored Sparrow (Spizella pallida)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

At Floyd Bennett Field, near the cricket field, we stopped to check out a flock of Horned Larks. The birds were nibbling on the seeds of plants growing up through cracks in the parking lot pavement. Sean was focusing his camera on one of the Horned Larks when a Lapland Longspur, unexpectedly, walked into the frame. The longspur seemed more wary than the larks and scurried around behind clumps of grass.

Lapland Longspur (Calcarius lapponicus) at Floyd Bennett Field

(Photo credit - Sean Sime)

One other interesting observation today was of a leucistic Yellow-rumped Warbler next to the Coast Guard Station. I began referring to the stunning, mostly white warbler as the "rarely seen Snow Warbler".

"Snow Warbler" at Coast Guard Station

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Grass drawn circle

(Photo credit - Rob J)

- - - - -

Jones Beach, Floyd Bennett Field, Ft. Tilden, 11/11/2005
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Northern Gannet
Brant
Wood Duck
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Merlin
Peregrine Falcon
Black-bellied Plover
Killdeer
American Oystercatcher
Dunlin
Laughing Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Chimney Swift (Jones Beach.)
Northern Flicker
Eastern Phoebe
Horned Lark (11, Floyd Bennett Field.)
Tree Swallow (1,000+.)
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Yellow-rumped Warbler (plus one leucistic individual at Coast Guard Station.)
American Tree Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Clay-colored Sparrow (Jones Beach median.)
Field Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Lapland Longspur (Floyd Bennett Field.)
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Pine Siskin (Jones Beach median.)
American Goldfinch

Other common species seen (or heard):
Double-crested Cormorant, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, American Black Duck, Mallard, Herring Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Downy Woodpecker, American Crow, Northern Mockingbird, American Robin, European Starling, Red-winged Blackbird, House Finch, House Sparrow

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