Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday's adventure

The day started out with a quick trip to the Cemetery before heading to meet up for the trip into Freshkills.  In all, I spent about 40 minutes walking around the cemetery with only a handful of common birds for my efforts, and none of the them year-birds.  So, off to the UA parking lot to start the waterfowl counting.
Frozen Main Creek from North Mound

Big thanks to the Parks Department for devoting time to get my co-worker, Ed, and I into Freshkills for the Waterfowl Count.  Typically, we'd have an official tour of the park on this Sunday, but due to some staffing issues at Park, the tour was cancelled.   Overall, the numbers of waterfowl within the site were good with over a dozen northern pintail being the highlight.  The kills were mostly frozen which made the counting a little easier (see picture on right).  As I mentioned in yesterday's post, we were hoping to also get some land-type birds in addition to counting the waterfowl.  To this end, we had half luck, which is always much better than no luck and ever much more so because we were searching for "GOOD BIRDS".  The two targets were eastern meadowlark and barn owl.  Ed and I walked around the edges of the fields hoping for the meadowlark, but no luck.  Then we were looking around a stand of trees, carefully walking as to not flush any roosting owl. Well, as I walked close to the edge of the tree I saw a big orange bird come flying out.  Immediately my mind locked on the identity, BARN OWL!   I called out, "BARN OWL, flying left", but within 20 seconds in flew down in the some other trees and out of sight.  Unfortunately, Ed didn't get on the bird before it disappeared, but Mike from Parks did see the bird from where he was standing.  BIG CHECK!   This was only the second time I've seen a barn owl on the island and a very important bird to get for my big year.   After a little more waterfowl counting, it was time to get out Freshkills and on with the rest of my waterfowl counting responsibilities.

After parting ways with Ed and Mike and grabbing bite to eat, I started back south to my Christmas Bird Count - Waterfowl Count territory at the tip of the island.    Stopping on Johnston Terrace, Lemon Creek, Page Ave, Conference House Park, and the Tottenville Train Station, my waterfowl totals were lower than pervious years and even lower than our Christmas Bird Count numbers from back in December.  The highlight on these stops was the continue Eurasian wigeon at the train station.  This bird has been wintering off the train station for the last four years and is probably the most reliable Eurasian wigeon in New York City.   So, with counting complete and a great year-bird added to the list, it was time to head home...  I have a few hour tomorrow morning before school responsibilities start up, so I'm hoping to get out for at least a while....

No comments:

Post a Comment