Winter Walk

February 4,2018

Pelham Bay Park

Photo: Joe Morales

As you can see from the photo, this was a fun day. While some of us explored the small island attached to Hunter Island, others scoped from a high vantage point on the island. We walked the planks that attached to Hunter Island to get there. Because it was low tide, one could walk even further out to some rock outcroppings. A few people thought it was going to be a rainy morning but the predicted weather report showed otherwise. It was cloudy and the temperature hovered around 40 degrees, downright balmy for February. We began by scanning the Orchard Beach lagoon. There were lots of Canada Geese for sure, but we managed to find a few Hooded and Red-breasted Merganser, Bufflehead and some American Black Duck in the water.

We then walked up the path up to Hunter island. There were some Chickadees, Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatches and a bunch of Blue Jays. A few feet more and Jeff found a Golden-crowned Kinglet, a good bird for February.

We checked for the Great Horned Owl but he was not in his usual spot. That’s when we decided to take a detour to the small Island. On the way were Red-bellied and Downy Woodpeckers. From that vantage point and others we had a lot of nice sightings. There was a Common Loon, Common Goldeneye, a few Horned Grebes and a Great Cormorant, way out on the rocks. At least two Red-tailed Hawks flew overhead as did a Great Blue Heron. Another excellent sighting by was the Purple Sandpiper, out on another rock outcropping. Gerry found a Long-tailed Duck out here too. There were also some Harbor Seals lounging on the rocks.

We walked the entire loop around to Orchard beach and scanned the waters. There was a report of a Snowy Owl there the day before, but we weren’t so lucky. We did find a Red-throated Loon, lots of Greater Scaup, a few gulls and another Long-tailed Duck and Horned Grebe.

By that time it was 11:30, so we walked to the end of the beach, but there wasn’t much to see. It was about noon when we got to our cars and the rain began at 1:00 PM, perfect.

This was a great way to spend the morning, terrific birds, but even better were the terrific birders.

Scoping was serious business. I can only see Linda’s face in this photo.

Species Account:

Purple Sandpiper

Hooded Merganser

Red-breasted Merganser

Red-throated Loon

Common Loon

Great Cormorant


Common Goldeneye

Horned Grebe


American Black Duck

Great Blue Heron

Downy Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Black-capped Chickadee

White-breasted Nuthatch

Dark-eyed Junco

Northern Cardinal

Blue Jay

White-throated Sparrow

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Long-tailed Duck

Greater Scaup

American Crow

Ring-billed Gull

Herring Gull

Great Black-backed Gull

Tufted Titmouse

Canada Goose

Red-tailed Hawk

Fox Sparrow


Eastern Towhee


Harbor Seals


Looking out from Hunter Island.

Back on the trail.

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At the end of the walk, a few of continued to scope from Orchard beach. We noticed a statue out on one of the islands. Melanie informed me that the statue is of William Tell and it’s out on Rat Island.