Bronx/Brooklyn Birdwalk Results

January 9, 2016

8:30AM

    When I checked the weather during the week, the report said “showers early, changing to rain.” So on Friday, I was happy the forecast changed to overcast. On the morning of the walk it was gray and damp, and very windy along the eastern shoreline. However, that didn’t dampen our spirits. In all, about 28 birders showed up for the walk. About a dozen from Brooklyn and the rest from the Bronx and a a few from Manhattan. As we walked up Hunter Island, we wondered what happened to the birds. It was quiet. No Chickadees, Nuthatches or other winter species we usually find as we climb the hill to the pines. Then, we searched the pines and couldn’t find any Saw-whets or Long-eared Owls. This was no surprise. In the last few years we have seen very few of these species. Only five years ago we could usually find at least one or two of each. If I go back further, there were as many as six in one tree. We are still hoping for their return. Perhaps it’s the removal of invasive plant species that has caused them to forgo our area. There’s less tangles for them to hide in and much of the understory is gone. This is where the rodents used to proliferate, the owl’s breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    I knew the Great Horned Owl could be around the next turn and asked Brendan to check the tree where it usually roosts. It was tough to spot, but there it was. We spend a few minutes watching and a few of us also found its mate a bit further out. Eventually it flew out but then surprised us by flying back. Everyone had a good look.

During that time we also had a great look at a Carolina Wren, thanks to Bob who heard it and called it in. Along the trail there were a few other wintering species, a Chickadee or two, White-breasted Nuthatch, a few Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers. We then tried to travel to a small island connected by a walkway composed of planks, end to end. However, the tide was still coming up and we played it safe by not walking to the island. The tide looked as though it would overtake the walkway.

    So we continued on and spent the rest of our time scoping the water from various locations on Hunter and Twin Island and Orchard Beach. Here we found a nice array of waterfowl, Common Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, American Wigeon, American Black Duck, Greater Scaup, Brant, Canada Goose, Pied-billed and Horned Grebe and Gadwall.

  By noon it felt that we had enough and had seen everything that was there. The morning turned out well, it was lots a fun.

  

This is the same Great Horned Owl in the same location where we saw it on Saturday. I took this photo if it a few days prior to our walk.

Ok, where’s that Saw-whet?

“Made in da Bronx.” Some of our born in the Bronx birders. I should be in the photo but took the photo.

We stayed on Orchard Beach scoping a Horned Grebe. It was not windy there and a bit warmer.

Scoping the water on Twin Island.

The Saw-whet just wasn’t there.

Scoping from the Hunter Island lookout for ducks.

Species Account

Downy Woodpecker

Mourning Dove

Carolina Wren

Great Horned Owl

Brant

Bufflehead

Red-breasted Merganser

Gadwall

American Goldeneye

Greater Scaup

Pied-billed Grebe

White-throated Sparrow

Song Sparrow

American Wigeon

Black-capped Chickadee

White breasted Nuthatch

Double crested Cormorant

Great Cormorant

Horned Grebe

Ring-billed Gull

Herring Gull

Great Black-backed Gull

Blue Jay

European Starling

Canada Goose

American Black Duck

Mallard

Dan poses on the lookout at Hunter Island

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