No, by the title I don’t mean to imply that 6,667 birds were out birding at Jamaica Bay (Why would birds be out birding? They would be out peopling if they were doing anything). The 2/3 of 10,000 Birds that headed out to the marvelous refuge were Mike and myself, Mike so he could see some waterfowl that he hadn’t caught up with so far this year and me, because, well, why not? I had a nice early morning walk through Forest Park to catch the Q53 bus down Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards to get to Jamaica Bay and managed to beat Mike to the parking lot, yet another reason mass transit is a wonderful thing! We were quickly out on the trail around the West Pond where the birds had been good to me last week.
They were good to us again and we quickly spotted a whole host of waterfowl, from dainty and colorful Green-winged Teal to the thousands of scaup. Not only that but we spotted an American Coot, Gadwall, Canada Geese, Red-breasted Mergansers, Bufflehead, Brant, a Blue-winged Teal, Mute Swans, Ruddy Ducks, and Snow Geese. The Snow Geese in particular were quite stunning.
Not only were there the ordinary old white Snow Geese with the black wing tips but there were also a couple “Blue” Snow Geese present as well. These dark individuals are the same species as their white brethren, they just look a bit different is all.
In addition to the aforementioned waterfowl, we also spotted a drake Northern Pintail, a bird that I had not yet seen this year without the aid of a car, so I got to add it to my Anti-Global Warming Big Year list. An Osprey perched on its nest platform was another new bird and then Mike spotted a couple of Tree Swallows over the pond bringing me up to an even 100 species for the year!
As we continued around the pond we were kind of disappointed in the lack of shorebirds and herons. The only shorebird we spotted was a single distant American Oystercatcher and we would not see any egrets or herons for the day. We did see plenty of sparrows, with White-throated, Song, and American Tree continually popping up or chipping from the bushes. Back near the nature center we spotted Mike’s first two Eastern Phoebes of the year and on a walk through the fields behind the center we came across two male Brown-headed Cowbirds. When I think how close I came to having them be number 100 on my list I shudder. Not that I didn’t want to check them off, it’s just that I didn’t want a nest parasite to be one of the nice round numbers.
A walk over to Big John’s Pond and for a quick peak at the East Pond didn’t add anything too spectacular, though we did see a flock of sixteen Common Redpolls, thirty-three percent more than I had there last week. Maybe next week if I go back there’ll be twenty-one?
After we said our goodbyes Mike hopped back in his car and I caught my bus a couple of minutes later. I got off the bus once again at Forest Park and saw some birds on my walk home…but you’ll have to wait to see what they were.