Memorial Day at Sandy Hook was sunny. Memorial Day at Sandy Hook was windy. A strong south wind and a very bright sun battled all afternoon as we (we being Daisy, me, and various and sundry of Daisy’s relatives) tried to eat outdoors and enjoy ourselves at Sandy Hook, NJ. Of course, like the last time I made a visit Sandy Hook, Patrick, who leads bird walks AT Sandy Hook, was not there, having forsaken his local haunt for the wilds of the Pacific Northwest. So we were again without guidance but again we somehow, against all odds, managed to find some birds (actually, if you can’t find birds at Sandy Hook, well, maybe birding isn’t really your thing).

Oh, yes, I know Memorial Day was two weeks ago but I figured that it only makes sense to write about it now, so that I might truly get into the spirit of the holiday by memorializing it. Or something.

Anyway, we mostly saw birds in the air, seeing as the wind was blowing absurdly hard and to see a bird in a tree full with leaves that are continuously blowing around is, well, nearly impossible. But the birds in the air were pretty cool.

Great Egret at Sandy Hook

Great Egret at Sandy Hook

Osprey in flight at Sandy Hook

Osprey at Sandy Hook

We also saw a bunch of ducks, all four expected gulls, a Broad-winged Hawk, and a host of common passerines. But I got the most enjoyment watching a Boat-tailed Grackle trying to drive away a Fish Crow. The aerial acrobatics were much more impressive than the photos I got.

Boat-tailed Grackle and Fish Crow

Boat-tailed Grackle and Fish Crow

Boat-tailed Grackle and Fish Crow

Boat-tailed Grackle and Fish Crow

Boat-tailed Grackle and Fish Crow

The grackle did drive off the crow, or, at least the crow kept going, which I think is all it wanted to do to begin with. In other words, the grackle was a bit delusional, though I didn’t see any crows go near the grackle (or its nest) again!

Anyway, we had a good time, saw some good birds, and stopped for ice cream on the way home. What more can one ask for?

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Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy, their son, Desmond Shearwater, and their indoor cat, B.B. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.