Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sunday birding

The morning started at Great Kills where the fog made for limited visibility, so there was limited birding.  We did have the bunting, larks, both loons and the other waterfowl mentioned in previous posting.

From Great Kills, Dave and I had to pick between heading to the south shore or going to Fort Wadsworth to chase Catherine Barron's razorbill from yesterday.  Wanting better looks at a Staten Island razorbill, and to have my first post-Sandy visit to the park, it was off to Ft. Wadsworth.  In about ten minutes we were parking and headed towards the beach.   Catherine reported yesterday's razorbill was near the jettie/pilings, so Dave and I walked as far as this structure without seeing any razorbills.  As we approached the jetty at the "corner" of the island, I spotted a small dark bird a few feet from the jetty. Up went the binoculars right onto a razorbill!  Sweet!  I immediately announced the bird, but by the time Dave got on the bird he saw the wing tips and feet slipping under the surface.  So, we continued to look around at the scaup when Dave says, "Razorbill over here now".
Quickly, spinning to my left just as Dave said, "Just dove"... d'oh!  But after a few moments it popped up again, about two-thirds the way to the base of the bridge.
A quick e-mail to the SINaturaList to let everyone know the bird was there and off to the south shore.  I was in a rush due to limited time, so I skipped txting everyone, knowing that at least a few would get the e-mail on their smart phones and others would check their e-mail soon enough to be able to chase the bird.
(Later Ed Johnson posted he had gotten the bird, his 300th on the island!).

Following a tip from Mike Shanley, Dave and I visited Clay Pit Pond, another off-the-usual-path location.  We quickly looked around the nature center but saw nothing but starling and carolina wrens.  But!  As we were walking along the grassy edge of Sharrotts Rd, there was a loud "POP" sound.  Reflexively looks towards the sound, which came from the intersection of Sharrotts and the service road, this is what I saw.  The front driver's-side wheel of a blue pick up truck shock violently for a split second then came flying completely.  The truck continued driving without the wheel for a second before stopping, but the wheel continued another sixty feet down Sharrotts Rd.  The wheel finally stopped when it hit the railroad tie-curb and flew into the rail fence.  The driver pulled the truck off the road.  I asked if he was ok and he said he was fine and walked over to retrieve the wheel.  I walked to the intersection to pick up the hub cap and placed it on the bumped of the truck.  After asking if the driver required further assistance we were off.

With time really not available for one last stop, but feeling that there was an easy tic to pick up today, we stopped in parking lot to view the Outbridge Crossing.  Luck was on our side again.  The peregrine falcon who hangs around the bridge was sitting on top of the island-side tower, check!  And with that, we called it day...

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