The primary mission of the Great South Bay Audubon Society is to advocate for the conservation of habitats for native birds and other native wildlife on Long Island.
Photos and Recap by Mike Cooper
On February 7th, ten Great South Bay birders came out for our annual West End Jones Beach trip. Crusty snow made getting around a little tricky, but we managed to find 44 species, with a couple of nice winter sightings. A large finch flock dropped in and allowed us to get nice looks at Common Redpolls. Redpolls are irruptive, and don’t move into our area every winter so these were a nice treat. Several of us saw one or possibly two different Rough-legged Hawks. Other raptors included several Northern Harriers, and singles of Sharp-shined, Red-tailed, Merlin, and possibly a glimpse of the Northern Goshawk that had been hunting in the area for the past few weeks. We ran into several large groups of Horned Larks, each of them containing a couple of Lapland Longspurs. The bay near the Coast Guard Station produced nice looks at the usuals- Horned Grebes, loons, Red-breasted Mergansers, Bufflehead and Long-tailed Duck (Oldsquaw) and a distant flock of a hundred or so Common Eider. Over at the field 10 fishing piers, a couple of Ruddy Turnstones fed under the docks, and off on one of the bay islands a large congregation of Harbor Seals was hauled up on an island.
Recap by Ken Thompson
We had our annual winter Birding and Breakfast this past January 17. This is a function sponsored and supported by three organizations. NYS Parks is the host at the Connetquot River State park Preserve. Great South Bay Audubon Society provides the nature walk leaders. The Friends of Connetquot supplied the breakfast and moral support.
Breakfast was at 8:00, the room was full. Coffee and juice and tea were served along with fruit and cake and bagels. After a hearty breakfast we started with a presentation by Pam Hunter, of potential winter birds that might be seen. Pam reviewed the ducks that would probably be on the pond and some of the land birds we might see as we walked the park trails.
After breakfast we headed to the pond. At the pond, with a very cooperating sunny day, we saw most of the ducks that was presented in the earlier session. Highlights were Common mergansers, Canvasbacks, Northern Pintail, Red Head and all the expected regulars. We spent time making sure everyone saw all the ducks that were there.
Then we walked the trails and again saw almost all the birds that were presented in the morning. The selection for the presentation by the park staff was spot on. High lights were Both Red and White-breasted Nuthatches. There were Chickadees and Titmice and White- throated sparrows hanging around the feeders. We saw a couple of different woodpeckers,We saw Red-bellied, Downy and a highlight was a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker which gave everyone great looks. Some groups saw a Red Fox scamper across the paddock, and some folks saw a Bald Eagle fly over the main pond.
It was a beautiful winter day with mild temperatures and bright sunshine. Everyone had a good time and the birds were very cooperative. We saw over thirty species of birds. Winter birding can be fun. NYS parks and GSBAS and Friends of Connetquot would like to thank every one for coming and enjoying our park.
Recap by Ken Thompson
We had our kickoff of GSBAS weekend field trips at Montauk Point this weekend. Eight hardy birders showed up on a cold windy day. the temperatures were in the teens with the winds out of the WNW at 10 knots increasing to 15 to 20. It was cold but not as cold as we have had on other trips.
Birding at the point was pretty quiet excepting for the steady stream of Common Eiders flying from the west to the east all morning long. There were thousands of them, they were every where you looked. Seeing masses of birds is one of the reasons we go to Montauk in January, the seabirds tend to congregate and put on a show.
On our way to Dune Road after finishing Montauk, Bob Grover spotted a large bird soaring overhead. We all pulled over to look at what was determined to be a Golden Eagle, treat number one. That is a great find for Long Island. Later on Dune Road, we pulled into Triton Lane and someone pointed out a Snowy Owl to us, treat number two. A little further down Dune Road we spotted an American Bittern sunning itself in a roadside ditch, treat number three.
We had a greatfinish to a great day of birding with a hardy bunch of birders.