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Monday, May 29, 2006

Another rarity at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (Nyctanassa violacea)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

It’s been sort of a whirlwind weekend. Between hosting visiting relatives and family events I managed to cram in some birding on both Sunday and Monday. Sunday morning began when Doug phoned to inform me of a trio of rare Fulvous Whistling-Duck at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. I quickly packed up my gear and he picked me up in front of my place with his father in tow.

The ducks were reported earlier in the morning on the West Pond between bench number 6 & 7. As we strolled down the path towards the location several folks with scopes hurried passed us. Up ahead we saw a group of birders gathered shoulder to shoulder near bench #7. By the jovial atmosphere surrounding the bench I figured that the ducks were still present. I’ve never seen a Fulvous Whistling Duck in New York, or anywhere else, for that matter. I assumed that the word “fulvous” had something to do with color but had never heard the word used in any other context. The dominant plumage color of the three birds is a soft, cinnamon-orange. According to Oxford’s American dictionary fulvous means “reddish yellow; tawny”. They also have a wide black strip on the back of their head that runs down their neck and ends at their nape. Their legs are much longer than any other waterfowl that I’ve seen and makes them stand as tall as many geese.

Fulvous Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna bicolor)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

I suppose that the ducks had tallied up a lot of frequent flyer mileage as they spent most of their time sleeping along the edge of the pond. They did swim around close to the shoreline for a few minutes but, other than that, they mostly just rested.

I feel a little guilty that I have to keep this report brief. My in-laws are staying with us until tomorrow afternoon and I need to be sociable and not sit and type for hours. There were so many observations at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge that I want to share but have to just rely on my photos. Blooming Poison Ivy, Sulfur Cinquefoil and Eastern Cottonwood were just a few botanicals new to me that I noted, as well as, some of the refuge’s breeding birds. Also, this morning (Monday) Shane and I drove out to eastern Long Island at 4:30am to visit several good shorebird and grassland habitats. I have several photos and observations that will just have to wait until tomorrow evening. Until then, enjoy.

Eastern Cottonwood (Populus deltoides)

(Photo credit - Rob J)

Sulfur cinquefoil (Potentilla recta)

(Photo credit - Rob J)
-Click here for more info on Sulfur cinquefoil-

Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) male flowers

(Photo credit - Rob J)
-Click here for more info on Poison Ivy-

Daisy Fleabane (Erigeron annuus )

(Photo credit - Rob J)


Angus Wilson just posted the following, curious e-mail:

"Subject: Fulvous Whistling Ducks - Deja vu all over again?
Date: 5/30/06 1:22 AM

It is curious to note that the second record of Fulvous Whistling Duck (then Fulvous Tree Duck) for New York State involved 3 birds together at Jamaica Bay!

The dates...... 29 May to 4 June 1965!

Forty-one years almost to the day. Food for thought, no? If you haven't seen these delightful birds yet, I'd hurry over the bay in the next five days :)

BTW This is a NYSARC review species and we'd appreciates notes and photographs. You are welcome to use the on-line submission form.

Cheers, Angus Wilson
New York City"

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Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, 5/28/2006
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
Glossy Ibis
Fulvous Whistling-Duck
Northern Shoveler
American Coot
Black-bellied Plover
Semipalmated Plover
American Oystercatcher
Spotted Sandpiper
Ruddy Turnstone
Red Knot
Semipalmated Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
White-rumped Sandpiper
Laughing Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Common Tern
Forster's Tern
Least Tern
Chimney Swift
Willow Flycatcher
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
White-eyed Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Fish Crow
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Carolina Wren
House Wren
Wood Thrush
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
Cedar Waxwing
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
American Redstart
Common Yellowthroat
Canada Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Common Grackle
Boat-tailed Grackle
Baltimore Oriole

Other common species seen (or heard):
Canada Goose, Mute Swan, American Black Duck, Mallard, Herring Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, American Robin, European Starling, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal, Red-winged Blackbird, House Finch, House Sparrow


Alex Wilson said...

Re: Flowers
A noteworthy current bloom in Prospect Park is Yellowwood. This is a rare tree of the central eastern US. It has spectacular hanging flowers somewhat similar to Black Locust but it doesn’t bloom every year. There’s a specimen near the southwest corner of the Peninsula meadow blowing profusely.

Rob J. said...

Thanks for the tip. I'll have to check it out...if it ever stops raining.

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