Fall Birdwalk Results

October, 14, 2012 8:30 AM

Turtle Cove and Vicinity

Here we are at the start, in the Rodman’s Neck Parking lot. L to R: Maggie, Jennifer, Eleanor, Jerry, Danny, Pete, Joe, Don, Saul, Irene.

Not Shown: John and Jack.

     On my way over to Rodman’s Neck it began to rain a bit and I figured that was the end of the walk. Would anyone want to get up early on a dank Sunday morning to look at birds, other than some hardcore types, like me?

When I arrived, it stopped drizzling but it was still dreary and cloudy. As I got out of my car, my neighbor Danny popped out of the woods nearby. It was a nice surprise, then came Pete. On the far side of the lot I spotted a bunch of people with binoculars and there was our group, pictured above. A few minutes later John showed and we were an even dozen.

Our first stop was the bay side of Turtle Cove where we spotted three or four Osprey, some with fish. Usually, by this time the Osprey have gone, but apparently they decided to stay for a while. It seems to me, that I’ve been seeing more Osprey this year and most are carrying fish. So possibly the food supply has been so good these last weeks and they are reluctant to leave. After watching the Osprey we played Frogger and crossed the road busy with fast moving cars. We saw many Great

John and Danny turn around for the camera. Everyone else are watching Osprey and Great Egrets

and Snowy Egrets, Double-crested Cormorants, and Mallards. Absent was the Belted Kingfisher seen a day or two ago. On the way over to the bridge across Turtle Cove we stopped by the grassy area. Here were many Phoebe, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Song Sparrows, Juncos and a Red-bellied Woodpecker or two. There was also a Ruby-crowned Kinglet in a nearby tree, the first of a few we spotted. Also seen were Black-capped Chickadees and a Carolina Wren.

We proceeded down to the bridge trying hard not to flush the many sparrows in the area. Here we found a Field, Song and Swamp Sparrow.

We proceeded to the crewing platform. On the way over John spotted a Great-blue Heron. Surprise, perched across the bay, opposite  the platform,was a huge raptor. In our binoculars and on the cameras LCD screen it was difficult to make out plumage. Our first inclination was an immature Bald Eagle. So I took out the Sibley field guide and looked. Sibley shows some immature and they looked nothing like the bird we were looking at in the book. So we thought some more and scanned the possibilities. It was way too big for a Cooper’s Hawk, wrong plumage for a Red-tailed hawk, certainly not an Osprey. We left the area a bit unsure.

On our walk along the edges were more sparrows. Eleanor and Jerry then decided to go home. As we said goodbye and walked ahead they shouted and pointed to an adult Bald Eagle flying over the lagoon, it was a good look.

On the walk back to the parking area was a flyover of perhaps 300-400 Common Grackles, quite a sight.

On a sad note, we found a Ring-billed Gull apparently shot with some kind of dart gun. It was terrible to see. As we stood there Marianne Anderson, Pelham Bay Park Administrator came by to say hello. She informed us that someone shot the bird and others in the parking lot and they were increasing surveillance to try to catch the person responsible.

By that time it was approaching noon and we went home. An hour or two later I got a call from Irene who did a bit of research, the mystery bird was an immature Bald Eagle. I checked the Wheeler and Clark, “North American Raptors,” and that’s certainly what we saw!

The mystery bird was an immature Bald Eagle. See story.

Photo by Joseph Morales

Darted Ring-billed Gulls at Orchard beach. See story.

Photos by Joseph Morales

Species Account:

Bald Eagle(immature and Adult)

Common Grackle (flyover of 300+)

American Goldfinch (few)

Great Blue Heron

Red-tailed Hawk

Peregrine Falcon

Cooper’s Hawk

Northern Cardinal

Osprey (several with fish in talons)

American Crow


Great Egret (several)

Snowy Egret (several)

Eastern Phoebe (few)

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Dark-eyed Junco (few)

Song Sparrow (several)

Yellow-rumped Warbler (several)

Chipping Sparrow

Black-capped Chickadee

Carolina Wren

White-throated Sparrow

Tufted Titmouse

Ruby-crowned Kinglet (few)

Blue Jay (few)

Northern Mockingbird

Swamp Sparrow

Field Sparrow

American Robin

Tree Swallow

Ring-billed Gull

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