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After-Thanksgiving Bird Walk

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Hunter Island and Turtle Cove

Pelham Bay Park, Bronx

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. I agree. Too bad I forgot to take any pictures of our walk. So I’ll do my best to describe what happened.

We all met in the Orchard Beach Parking lot. Luckily Bob and his friend Bob, arrived a bit early. Minutes after they arrived, I received a call from Eneko, a biologist visiting NYC from Spain, letting me know that he was waiting at Pelham Bay Station. Eneko planned to come earlier, catch the Bx 29 bus and walk to meet us. Unfortunately the #6 Subway train was running infrequently, so he wasn’t going to make it to the meeting place on time. So Bob and Bob drove over to Pelham Bay Station to get him. While we waited, more people began to arrive and when we were done, nineteen birders were ready. So we waited a few minutes for Bob and Bob and Eneko to arrive.

As we proceeded, I expected to see lots of passerines, unfortunately, there were few. It was beautiful though, a really warm and balmy day for late November. So I decided we would try for the Great Horned Owl we had seen the day before. Bronx Brendan, as he is known, was able to locate the owl, (whew,) and everyone took turns getting some good looks at this bird. That was fun and a life bird for some. As we walked, we found some White-breasted Nuthatches, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpecker, Tufted Titmouse and a Peregrine Falcon overhead. We also saw a Brown Creeper, a few Downy Woodpeckers and a Golden-crowned Kinglet.

We meandered down to the shoreline and found some waterfowl. Red-breasted Merganser, several Bufflehead, American Black Duck and a few hundred Greater Scaup were obvious. As we walked down to the lookout, a huge flock of Brant lifted up in front of us, quite a sight. There were also Horned Grebe, Ring-billed, Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls, Double-crested Cormorants and Canada Goose. We stayed at the lookout for quite a while scoping, chatting and generally enjoying the fine day and good company.

On the way back to the parking lot we ran into some more Tufted Titmouse, Black-capped Chickadees, another Peregrine falcon overhead and a couple of Red-tailed Hawks soaring.

It was about 11:30 and some folks went home while a bunch of us decided to check out Turtle Cove. Over there we found some Brown-headed Cowbirds, a beautiful Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Dark-eyed junco, some more Downy Woodpeckers. As we approached the small metal bridge a Great Blue Heron flushed from the tall grass and another Peregrine was overhead. On the pond were Hooded Merganser and a few Mallard.

By that time it was 12:45 and we all decided to call it a day. The beautiful day, the friendly and social group and the owl made this a wonderful day.