Sunrise Bird Walk – November 29th

30 11 2009

American Robin - Luke Tiller

After the howling winds of Saturday it was nice to get out and do some birding with a number of Sunrise Birding regulars and a new face or two. It was a beautiful day to be out with sun shining and temperatures rapidly climbing into the high 50’s. It appears to have been an odd November and fall thus far with no real sign of a big frost at all. At the hawkwatch we were wondering whether the lack of big movement of  some raptors was down to this balmy weather, and lack of big fronts, causing some lack of impetus for the big flight. Although I have been tied up enough to have missed out on a daily sojourn to Allen’s Meadows it seems to have been a fairly quiet fall all around for even relatively common migrants (I still haven’t seen an Orange-crowned this year!!!!) apart from Greg’s notable loon find. Perhaps the influence of some heavy northeasterly winds driving migrants off the coast early in the season?

Everything somehow seems to be either behind, to have slipped past or perhaps not to have arrived yet. With warm temperatures and open water to our north there doesn’t seem to have been the big push of waterfowl as of yet and so things are all seemingly in that rather quiet transition period. It’s also worth noting that their appears to have been an abundant wild food crop this year and so it seems unlikely that any irruptive species will be making the kind of huge forays into our territory that we have seen in recent years such as White-winged Crossbills, Red Crossbills and particularly Pine Siskins. This abundant food crop probably means that the prey species of many raptors is fairly bountiful so there hasn’t been any notable movement of some of these other hoped for species.

Still after a wonderful Thanksgiving with friend and Sunrise Birding leader Joe Bear and his family, it was nice to get out and walk off a few pounds of turkey and Fran’s amazing apple cake! Joe joined us for the walk as well- you can tell it’s warm if he’s out in November – usually he’s hibernating by this time of year and waiting for the warblers to reappear in April 😉   The birding was not the most thrilling of all time but there was much catching up to do with friends who had just returned from the Sunrise Birding tour of Brazil’s Atlantic rain forests, and so good conversation filled in the moments between birds.

A sprinkling of sparrow species at Cove Island turned up a Field and an American Tree Sparrow and a latish Ruby-crowned Kinglet was of some note. Things were pretty quiet though and highlight was a pair of Peregrine Falcons streaking across the sky together as they headed westwards.  We got a nice little workshop on Accipiter identification with both Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks providing decent perched and in-flight views. No sign of the eagle flight that Tina Green had noted the previous day – perhaps they just like it that windy?

We then decided to take a quick run to Greenwich Point Park. Again things were a little quiet but we were starting to amass a decent collection of waterfowl on the day – especially after we had a little flock of 25+ Snow Geese somewhere out midsound – perhaps on their way to Jamaica Bay. Also slightly unexpected on the sound were a little pod of Ruddy Ducks that were huddled together in a tightly massed formation. Long-tailed Ducks seemed to be around in decent numbers and a few mergansers of both the Hooded and Red-breasted varietals put in an appearance. A nice day to be out, even if not mind-blowing birding wise. It was all rounded out with a rather fantastic slap-up meal at the City Limits Diner in Stamford where we retired for essential coffee and more catching up on news and tales of Thanksgiving exploits.

Trip species list:

Red-Throated Loon – Common Loon – Great Cormorant – Double-crested Cormorant – Mute Swan – SNOW GOOSE – Canada Goose – Brant – Mallard – American Black  Duck – Long-Tailed Duck – Bufflehead – Red-breasted Merganser – Hooded Merganser – Ruddy Duck – Turkey Vulture – Sharp-Shinned Hawk – Coopers Hawk – PEREGRINE FALCON – Ring-Billed Gull – Herring Gull – Great black-backed Gull – Rock Pigeon – Mourning Dove – Monk Parakeet – Belted Kingfisher – Red-Bellied Woodpecker – Northern Flicker – Downy Woodpecker – Hairy Woodpecker – Blue Jay – American Crow – Tufted Titmouse – Black-capped Chickadee – White-breasted Nuthatch – Carolina Wren – Ruby-crowned Kinglet – Hermit Thrush – American Robin – Northern Mockingbird – European Starling – Cedar Waxwing – American Tree Sparrow – Field Sparrow – Song Sparrow – Swamp Sparrow – White-throated Sparrow – Dark-eyed Junco – Northern Cardinal – House Finch – American Goldfinch – House Sparrow




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