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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

More Coastal Birding & Frozen Jellyfish

I'm about a week behind on my birdwatching postings. I actually started by uploading some pics and pasting in my bird list, but you know how it is...

I've learned from more experienced birders, especially my friend Shane, that the place to bird in Brooklyn during the winter is along the coast. It's been a little challenging this year with record snow falls and extremely low temperatures, but it hasn't stopped me.

Heydi has been concerned that by missing a few days of birding earlier in the month she won't be able to catch up with Doug, Shane and myself. It's a silly competitive thing, but three of the four of us have already tallied 80 species of birds or more in January. I've assured her that most of what we've seen she will get on her list at some point. It is the rarer, winter species that she should focus on finding. With that in mind, the two of us decided to bird Coney Island Pier, Dead Horse Bay, Floyd Bennett Field and Gravesend Bay. I suggested finishing the day at Prospect Park, where she would have a good chance of finding Pine Siskins at the bird feeders.

It was a frigid morning and most normal people were staying far away from the beaches. In fact, it was so cold that we found these frozen jellyfish on the shore at Coney Island. I believe that they were Moon Jellyfish. The water was a lot warmer than the air, so I guess these cnydaria would have survived had the tide not carried them onto the sand.

Along the eastern shoreline at Floyd Bennett Field the low temperature had frozen seafoam into styrofoam-like sculptures. The weather didn't seem to affect the waterfowl and other seabirds as we tallied a fairly decent day list. Heydi added a lot of new birds, enough to bring her up into the top 5 for Kings county. I'm pretty sure she won't be satisfied until she is one of the top 2, then she'll just have to kill me.

Date: January 15, 2011
Locations: Coney Island Pier, Dead Horse Bay, Floyd Bennett Field, Gravesend Bay, Prospect Park
Total Number of Species: 48

1) Brant
2) Canada Goose
3) Gadwall
4) American Wigeon
5) American Black Duck
6) Mallard
7) Northern Shoveler
8) Redhead
9) Greater Scaup
10) Long-tailed Duck
11) Bufflehead
12) Common Goldeneye
13) Red-breasted Merganser
14) Ruddy Duck
15) Red-throated Loon
16) Common Loon
17) Horned Grebe
18) Great Cormorant
19) Northern Harrier
20) Red-tailed Hawk
21) American Kestrel
22) Black-bellied Plover
23) Ring-billed Gull
24) Herring Gull
25) Great Black-backed Gull
26) Rock Pigeon
27) Great Horned Owl
28) Red-bellied Woodpecker
29) Downy Woodpecker
30) Hairy Woodpecker
31) Horned Lark
32) Black-capped Chickadee
33) White-breasted Nuthatch
34) Northern Mockingbird
35) European Starling
36) Yellow-rumped Warbler
37) American Tree Sparrow
38) Chipping Sparrow
39) Fox Sparrow
40) Song Sparrow
41) Swamp Sparrow
42) White-throated Sparrow
43) Dark-eyed Junco
44) Northern Cardinal
45) House Finch
46) Pine Siskin
47) American Goldfinch
48) House Sparrow

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