Saturday, April 05, 2008

Birding with 10,000 Birds

Today I had the distinct honor to be the first blogger to go birding with the entire 10,000 Birds crew and what an honor it was! Mike, Corey, and Charlie are not only top-notch bloggers, birders, and human beings, but are a lot of fun to go birding with. All in all we had a terrific day with unexpectedly great weather. The only downside of the day was that I forgot both memory cards for my camera! D'oh!

We started our day at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge where we saw some nice early migrants along with many lingering winter birds. It was nice to see Chipping Sparrows in breeding plumage followed by American Tree Sparrows for a comparison of these Spizella comrades. Hundreds of Greater Scaup sprinkled with various other ducks made for a pleasant sight. First of the year birds for me included Laughing Gull, Forster's Tern, and American Oystercatchers. The sun came out, in conflict with the local weatherman's report, to make today one of the best days of the year.

We then headed over to Big Egg Marsh in search of "salt sparrows." We trudged through a little muck, but couldn't pull out a sparrow. While the 10,000 Birds guys were off plodding through mussels beds, I heard a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and got some excellent views of this neat little bird. Unfortunately, it disappeared before the rest of the guys got to see it.

Our third stop was further out on Long Island at the Oceanside Marine Nature Study area. This was a really interesting place - a salt marsh smashed between a major suburban community and a golf course. All of the roads around the marsh have golf-themed names like Slice Drive and Bunker Road. We explored the boardwalks where we saw a single Glossy Ibis, American Kestrel, and Greater Yellowlegs. Unfortunately, there were no sparrows here either.

We wrapped up the day with some delicious Long Island pizza. Whoever thought to put Buffalo chicken on a pizza is a genius. Thanks to the 10,000 Birds guys for letting me tag along.


Mike said...

The honor was ours, Patrick, even if the saltmarsh sparrows weren't!

John said...

Did the common redpolls stick around?

Patrick Belardo said...

Nope. All the birch trees we saw were stripped of any catkins. I don't think we checked the exact spot you saw them in though.

wolf21m said...

How cool to actually see other bird bloggers in real life. If you are ever in Idaho, let me know.