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Saturday, February 11, 2006

Staten Island birding

It was a two warbler day on Staten Island. Mary, Janet and I headed over to Staten Island this morning, primarily to scan the coast for waterfowl. Our first stop, though, was to look for the reported Yellow-breasted Chat at Clove Lakes Park.

People had reported that the chat was very cooperative but I didn’t expect to find it within 5 minutes! The habitat near the stone bridge is primarily a tangle of multiflora rose, bittersweet and mugwort. This botanic triumvirate may be a park manager’s nightmare but the chat seems to love it. From the opposite side of the stream we watched the vivid yellow and olive bird eating berries in the open. A very nice way to begin our day.

Yellow-breasted Chat (Icteria virens)

(Photo credit - Steve Nanz)

The number and variety of species in the coastal waters at Great Kills and Crooke’s Point were unremarkable. Common Goldeneye were the most numerous species. We were all surprised to see several dozen Tree Swallows flying up and down the beach. Returning to Capistrano, already?!

We had one other interesting sighting at Great Kills. After scanning the coast we were returning to the car at parking area “A”. In the distance we spotted a hawk flying northwest from the area of the nature center. From the look of its broad wings and wide tail we thought that it was a buteo. When it was over the area of the baseball fields it began hovering. The lighting was terrible and we didn’t have time to get our scopes on it. Its tail seemed too long for it to be a Red-tailed Hawk. When it was soaring it didn’t seem to have the deep dihedral of a harrier, its wings were held almost flat. My first thought was that it was a Rough-legged Hawk, however, the lighting was terrible and we could only see it as a silhouette. My friend Mike e-mailed to confirm that he had, in fact, seen a Rough-legged Hawk in that area at 11am.

A Rough-legged Hawk photographed last year

(Photo credit - Rob J)

..oh, yeah, the second warbler of the day was a Yellow-rumped Warbler at Great Kills.

- - - - -

Clove Lakes Park & Great Kills, 2/11/2006
Horned Grebe (Several.)
Great Cormorant
Long-tailed Duck (3, off Crooke’s Pt.)
Bufflehead (Several.)
Common Goldeneye (Common.)
Hooded Merganser (2, Clove Lake.)
Red-breasted Merganser (Fairly common.)
Rough-legged Hawk (Great Kills.)
Sanderling (4.)
Ring-billed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Tree Swallow (~50-75, Great Kills.)
Carolina Wren (Clove Lakes Park.)
Gray Catbird
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Crookes Pt.)
Yellow-breasted Chat (Clove Lakes Park.)
American Tree Sparrow (Crookes Pt.)
White-throated Sparrow

Other common species seen (or heard):
Canada Goose, American Black Duck, Mallard, Herring Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Downy Woodpecker, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, American Robin, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, Northern Cardinal, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, American Goldfinch


Anonymous said...

The best look at a Chat I've ever had. It was posing for pictures, but we didn't have a camera.

Marge said...

The first Yellow Breasted Chat I ever sighted was in Staten Island in the Greenbelt many years ago.

What a great bird!

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