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Friday, January 04, 2013

December Birds

December is not usually a month were many new species are added to one's year list. Over the past 4 years I've averaged just 5 "year birds" during the last month of the year. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that December 2012 added only four birds. The surprise was that one was a "life bird" that is rarely ever seen in the borough of Kings.

One of my last postings for 2012 was about alcids appearing along the coast and spotting a Dovekie at Coney Island. Up to that point, the Dovekie had been one of my jinx birds. That is to say, I'd unsuccessfully chased after sightings of this tiny, black and white seabird for years. It felt great to finally see one ... and in Brooklyn!

Another nice find before the year ended was Common Redpoll. This is one of the "Winter Finches" that was predicted would be heading South in search of food. Like the crossbills, siskins and grosbeaks, their food supplies were affected by severe droughts in the north country.

Finally, a bird that I rarely overlook each year, managed to escape my bins (and ears) until the last minute. American Pipits are common during the Fall migration, especially in mid to late-November. While walking down the beach at Coney Island with my birding buddy, Heydi, we flushed a single bird. Ironically, since that day I've spotted flocks of them three more times.

Unrelated to my December birds, but a relatively unusual sighting for this time of year was four Black Skimmers on the beach at Coney Island. Check out this bird trying to ignore the scouring, wind blown sand. It's probably doing a good job of polishing his bill. Bet he wishes he was with the rest of his friends down in Central America:


NYS total: 258
Kings total: 244

241) Northern Pintail (Floyd Bennett Field, 12/09/12)
242) Dovekie (Coney Island, 12/22/12)
243) Common Redpoll (Green-Wood Cemetery, 12/24/12)
244) American Pipit (Coney Island Beach, 12/30/12)

*Bold = Life bird

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