Monday, January 28, 2013

Spots on my glass

Woke up this morning hoping to get some birding in before the precipitation started.  As luck would have it, I got all geared up, stepped out side and found the snow had already started falling.   The was coming down just enough to make nice wet blobs on my binoculars and eye-glass, so birding-by-car time...  a few stops along my usual route on the south shore came up with nothing too exciting so after getting breakfast, I came home.

I thought this would be a good time to write a little more about the waterfowl counting from yesterday afternoon.   The annual waterfowl count is organized by the New York State Ornithological Association and over the years has been used to track the wintering waterfowl in the state and used to help set tag-limits for hunting purposes.  Yes, we help out hunter... not many realize that hunters were some of the first conservationist, and protection of habitats and preservation of species are shared concerns of both hunter with guns and hunter with binoculars (birders).
Eurasian wigeon, Tottenville Train Station, Jan. 20, 2009
After spending the late-morning/early afternoon at Freshkills, I headed back to the south shore to count the waterfowl around the tip of Staten Island.  I started at Johnston Terrace to count the waterfowl at the mouth of Lemon Creek and Prince's Bay.  Then it was on to Page Ave, then Sprague Ave to cover that section of the Raritan Bay.  After these stops I took a quick walk at Conference House Park to cover the tip of island at Ward's Point including the confluence of the Ratitan Bay, Arthur Kill and Raritan Bay.  Then my last stop was at the Tottenville Train Station, a popular place to find wigeon and brant.  Also, I stopped at fields between these locations to count geese...  I don't know if it was the weather or the time of day, but there were very few waterfowl to be counted.  Here's my list:

common loon 2
red-throated loon 6
horned  grebe 28
canada goose 136
brant 668
american wigeon 26
eurasian wigeon 1 (photo above)
american black duck 19
mallard  13
bufflehead  48
common goldeneye 2
hooded merganser 3
red-breasted merganser 3
ruddy duck 2
double-crested cormorant 2

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