Monday, February 01, 2010

January Birds

I wanted to try and locate at least 100 species in Brooklyn before the end of January. It seems like a lot, especially considering that I saw 220 in all of last year.

I came into the home stretch only needing to see 3 more species. In the dead of winter my best bets were to focus on waterfowl and gulls. There were a few songbirds missing from my list, most notably Cedar Waxwings, but I decided to play the odds and focus on coastal habitats.

During the week, Heydi and I found a lone Purple Finch in Prospect Park. That left me with only two to go. I decided to go out to Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge on Saturday to try and locate a Barrow's Goldeneye that had been recently reported. This is a rare bird in NYC, so it would be worth trudging around in near frostbite weather. While most of the refuge is in the borough of Queens, the Brooklyn border runs along the western edge of the West Pond and up through Pumpkin Patch Marsh. Any birds seen on the west side of the pond and beyond were fair game.

I took the "A" train to the Broadchannel station, where I met my friend. The refuge is just a short walk from the train. Most of the West Pond was frozen, but a small section remained open at the Brooklyn edge. As we walked towards the pond, a large flock of Snow Geese took flight and headed out over the bay. A flock of black ducks were still in the narrow stretch of open water in the pond. Among the common waterfowl were 19 Northern Pintails. That brought me up to 99 species. We spent a long time scanning the bay and marsh in search of the Barrow's Goldeneye, but never found it. Next stop would be Dead Horse Bay.

We took Q53 bus from in front of the refuge. That took us into Rockaway, where we transferred to the Q35, which stops in front of Floyd Bennett Field, and across from the Dead Horse Bay trailhead. The scaup flock at Dead Horse, unbelievably, seemed to have grown even larger than the 20,000 birds from my last visit. Most were in the water, but some of the flock was sleeping high up on the shoreline while others walked back to the water's edge. I'd never seen a scaup walking before and, with legs set fairly far back on their body, they seemed awkward. Frigid northwest winds were blowing directly into our faces as we scanned the huge flock. Numb faces and fingers finally forced us to pack up our scopes before we could do a really thorough search for any unusual birds in the flock.

Once across Flatbush Avenue, we walked the pathway along the edge of Floyd Bennett Field, towards Aviator Sports. At one point, Heydi stopped to point out a flock of sparrows in the vegetation at the edge of the fence. It was a flock of American Tree Sparrows - or species number 100!

After a hot chocolate break we continued birding Floyd Bennett. We spent time at the Cricket Field, the main grassland, Ecology Village and Archery Road, before heading back to Flatbush Avenue and the Q35 bus. I didn't add any other species to my month list, but Heydi was able to add an Eastern Meadowlark to hers.

Here is a breakdown of my January species list with the location and date of the first sighting. The links for each location will bring you to a Google Earth map of that spot.

Locations: Breezy Point; Brighton Beach; Coney Island Creek Park; Coney Island Pier; Dead Horse Bay; Dreier-Offerman Park; Floyd Bennett Field; Gravesend Bay; Green-Wood Cemetery; Hendrix Creek; Jamaica Bay West--Brooklyn; Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge; Plum Beach; Prospect Park; Sheepshead Bay; Spring Creek Park--North Channel Marsh

1) Snow Goose - 01/16/10 (Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn)
2) Brant - 01/06/10 (Gravesend Bay, Brooklyn)
3) Canada Goose - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
4) Mute Swan - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
5) Wood Duck - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
6) Gadwall - 01/06/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
7) American Wigeon - 01/16/10 (Plum Beach, Brooklyn)
8) American Black Duck - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
9) Mallard - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
10) Northern Shoveler - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
11) Northern Pintail - 01/30/10 (Jamaica Bay West, Brooklyn)
12) Green-winged Teal - 01/16/10 (Hendrix Creek, Brooklyn)
13) Canvasback - 01/21/10 (Hendrix Creek, Brooklyn)
14) Greater Scaup - 01/06/10 (Gravesend Bay, Brooklyn)
15) Lesser Scaup - 01/21/10 (Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn)
16) Surf Scoter - 01/24/10 (Coney Island Pier, Brooklyn)
17) White-winged Scoter - 01/13/10 (Coney Island Pier, Brooklyn)
18) Black Scoter - 01/24/10 (Coney Island Pier, Brooklyn)
19) Long-tailed Duck - 01/13/10 (Coney Island Pier, Brooklyn)
20) Bufflehead - 01/06/10 (Gravesend Bay, Brooklyn)
21) Common Goldeneye - 01/06/10 (Gravesend Bay, Brooklyn)
22) Hooded Merganser - 01/16/10 (Hendrix Creek, Brooklyn)
23) Red-breasted Merganser - 01/06/10 (Gravesend Bay, Brooklyn)
24) Ruddy Duck - 01/09/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

25) Red-throated Loon - 01/13/10 (Coney Island Pier, Brooklyn)
26) Common Loon - 01/06/10 (Gravesend Bay, Brooklyn)

27) Pied-billed Grebe - 01/21/10 (Hendrix Creek, Brooklyn)
28) Horned Grebe - 01/07/10 (Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn)
29) Red-necked Grebe - 01/13/10 (Coney Island Pier, Brooklyn)

30) Northern Gannet - 01/13/10 (Coney Island Pier, Brooklyn)

31) Double-crested Cormorant - 01/13/10 (Coney Island Pier, Brooklyn)
32) Great Cormorant - 01/07/10 (Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn)

33) Great Blue Heron - 01/13/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
34) Black-crowned Night-Heron - 01/21/10 (Hendrix Creek, Brooklyn)

35) Northern Harrier - 01/16/10 (Plum Beach, Brooklyn)
36) Sharp-shinned Hawk - 01/30/10 (Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Queens)
37) Cooper's Hawk - 01/07/10 (Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn)
38) Red-tailed Hawk - 01/06/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
39) American Kestrel - 01/15/10 (Spring Creek Park--North Channel Marsh, Brooklyn)
40) Merlin - 01/06/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
41) Peregrine Falcon - 01/13/10 (Dreier-Offerman Park, Brooklyn)

42) American Coot - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

43) Black-bellied Plover - 01/07/10 (Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn)
44) Killdeer - 01/21/10 (Hendrix Creek, Brooklyn)
45) Sanderling - 01/16/10 (Plum Beach, Brooklyn)
46) Purple Sandpiper - 01/06/10 (Gravesend Bay, Brooklyn)
47) American Woodcock - 01/15/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

48) Bonaparte's Gull - 01/06/10 (Gravesend Bay, Brooklyn)
49) Mew Gull - 01/06/10 (Gravesend Bay, Brooklyn)
50) Ring-billed Gull - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
51) Herring Gull - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
52) Great Black-backed Gull - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

53) Thick-billed Murre - 01/19/10 (Brighton Beach, Brooklyn)

54) Rock Pigeon - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
55) Mourning Dove - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

56) Monk Parakeet - 01/09/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

57) Great Horned Owl - 01/10/10 (Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn)
58) Snowy Owl - 01/19/10 (Breezy Point, Queens)
59) Northern Saw-whet Owl - 01/06/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

60) Belted Kingfisher - 01/16/10 (Hendrix Creek, Brooklyn)

61) Red-bellied Woodpecker - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
62) Yellow-bellied Sapsucker - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
63) Downy Woodpecker - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
64) Hairy Woodpecker - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
65) Northern Flicker - 01/16/10 (Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn)

66) Blue Jay - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
67) American Crow - 01/07/10 (Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn)

68) Horned Lark - 01/07/10 (Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn)

69) Black-capped Chickadee - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
70) Tufted Titmouse - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

71) Red-breasted Nuthatch - 01/06/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
72) White-breasted Nuthatch - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

73) Brown Creeper - 01/10/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

74) Carolina Wren - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
75) Winter Wren - 01/15/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

76) Golden-crowned Kinglet - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
77) Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

78) Hermit Thrush - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
79) American Robin - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

80) Northern Mockingbird - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

81) European Starling - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

82) American Pipit - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

83) Yellow-rumped Warbler - 01/16/10 (Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn)

84) Eastern Towhee - 01/06/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
85) American Tree Sparrow - 01/30/10 (Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn)
86) Chipping Sparrow - 01/10/10 (Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn)
87) Savannah Sparrow - 01/16/10 (Plum Beach, Brooklyn)
88) Fox Sparrow - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
89) Song Sparrow - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
90) White-throated Sparrow - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
91) White-crowned Sparrow - 01/16/10 (Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn)
92) Dark-eyed Junco - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
93) Lapland Longspur - 01/07/10 (Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn)

94) Northern Cardinal - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

95) Red-winged Blackbird - 01/06/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
96) Eastern Meadowlark - 01/26/10 (Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn)
97) Rusty Blackbird - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
98) Common Grackle - 01/06/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

99) Purple Finch - 01/28/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
100) House Finch - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)
101) American Goldfinch - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

102) House Sparrow - 01/01/10 (Prospect Park, Brooklyn)

2 comments:

John said...

Congratulations on surpassing your species target!

Yojimbot said...

Cool story and congrats!

--J

ps God Bless Heidi!

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