I have not been birding enough lately.  Seriously.  Sure, last weekend we had a nice trip to Suffolk County and the week before that I went up to Doodletown but that’s it.  Once a week is not enough birding!  June in New York City is hot, and when it isn’t hot lately it’s raining or I’m working.  Yesterday it was not raining and I was not working so I once again made a trip to Jamaica Bay where I hoped to add Gull-billed Terns to my Anti-Global Warming Big Year list and see what birds had stuck around to breed.

As usual, as soon as I exited the bus I was birding.  Gulls and herons and swallows were thick overhead and wrens and sparrows and wood-warblers were singing.  Song Sparrows seemed more plentiful than usual: I heard and saw several like the one below.

singing Song Sparrow

But the real stars of the show yesterday were the herons.  Black-crowned Night-Herons flew by overhead and were joined in the marshes by Yellow-crowned Night-HeronsGreat and Snowy Egrets were plentiful and I was pleased to see two Green Herons, one on the West Pond and one at close range form the blind at Big John’s Pond.  A single Tricolored Heron hunted in the north marsh and, of course, plenty of Glossy Ibis were in the air and in the shallows.

Black-crowned Night-Heron

Black-crowned Night-Heron landing at Big John’s Pond

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron at Jamaica Bay

Green Heron hunting

Green Heron at Big John’s Pond

All-in-all, it was a satisfying couple of hours worth of birding.  Oh, and I did get my Gull-billed Tern for the list, number 197 for the year, when I watched one chase off a Least Tern from where the littler bird had been hunting.  More importantly though, I got my birding fix, so the withdrawal symptoms weren’t too severe…

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 and Desmond Shearwater. 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.