Saturday, October 2, 2010

AMNH Trip to Long Island

AMNH Trip on the bus.  I lvoe these trips!  Just get on the bus and follow them around, no worries.  :-)

On the bus before we even left the city we saw a blue jay in someone's window box.  A bit further along I also saw an egret, a few gulls, and an osprey.  The girl (about 10-12) in front of me saw the osprey and thought it was a bird of prey, when I told her it was an osprey she got excited.  Then the next gull she saw she thought it was an eagle.  :-)

We got to the first stop fairly easily and looked around in the island in the parking lto outside the restroom building - they saw something, I think a golden crowned kinglet, I didn't see it.

Then towards the edge of the lot, we saw these palm warbler, some in the beautiful flowers and this one right at the edge.  They look so funny to me when they are quite yellow like this one, because I saw them first in a more drab coloration in Cayman.

There was also a flycatcher there but none of the pictures came out at all.  Sometimes this camera just refuses to focus on the bird!  Oh well, off we go along the path.  Holy mama that's a lot of mosquitoes!  Okay, let's all pause to spray and spray and spray, and then continue.

We saw lots and lots of yellow rumps, so cute!

Paul claimed some waxwings flew over, but I didn't see them.  I did see some flyovers that I thought were swallows, which he also claimed, so I'm not really sure what happened.

At this point even the people who refused spray earlier are thinking it's a good idea.  Spray, spray, spray, and spray again!  Seriously, spray.

We see more yellow rumps, they were everywhere!

Paul heard some red breasted nuthatches and asked me to play their song, so I played it from my phone and they came right over!  There were 5-6 of them in the tree right there, it was awesome!

Then we crossed over some big median or something and went along another road towards the water.  we went along to a waterfront and pier.  The tree at the end had some yellowrumps (obviously) and then I saw a black throated blue!  yay!  I was the only one to see it at first, but after a few minutes I found it again and showed Paul and I think he was able to show it to several others.  I'm not yet good at describing where a bird is and helping other people to see it.  Also found a yellow, he was pretty.  My fave!  :-)

We continued to the water, where we immediately saw a cormorant fishing.  We didn't see it catch anything though, just diving.

Along the way I saw something in a tree and took a mini detour, but I could not id it.  Later it turned out to be golden crowned kinglets!

At the water's edge, we saw this snowy egret across the way.

And this sandpiper, I'm sure Paul said which kind it was, but I have no idea.

On the near side just past the railing we got to see these black bellied plovers up close! Sadly we made them too nervous and they flew off, but at least then we could see their black armpits (not bellies) that they are named for.

Across the way, a couple of sandpipers and farther over a whole mess of oyster catchers, that was cool.

then before crossing the median Paul saw something predatory land in a tree, I couldn't see it for a while, even though I was looking at the tree and it was not large and didn't really seem like it had a lot of hiding places.  then Paul described where it was in the tree, and sure enough, there it was!  We were thinking about going out there to get a closer look but then it flew off, he thought it was a merlin I think.

Back along the path, more of the same - yellow rumps!  red breasted nut hatches!  :-)

Back on the bus, and to the second spot (fire island?) for lunch and another walk

We had lunch at some picnic tables with optimistic, but ultimately disappointed, gulls.

In the shrubs by the building, Paul found this savannah sparrow (I thought it was a song sparrow)

and these palm warblers.  Pretty friendly.  :-)

I don't really get why other people weren't following him around.  I mean, have they not caught on yet that he's going to find cool stuff?  And the way to see the cool stuff is to just trail along after him and look where he points?  Oh well.

Going out to the suddenly swampy area - killdeer,

and those least sandpipers that were right there, not shy at all.  One adult, one juvenile.

Okay, it's walking time!  Lots of flyovers, osprey, a harrier, a few kestrels, a merlin or two.

Kestrel on the platform or whatever that was.  That kid kept spotting cool stuff.  And gulls.

The butterflies were everywhere!  It was distracting in the most wonderful way.  :-)

There were many more yellow rumps, and many more nuthatches, and I'm sure lots of other stuff that I'm just not remembering.

on the way back Jack found a robin  :-)

And as we were loading back up, we saw this cattle egret in the parking lot.  It's apparently rare for this area, and people have been quite excited about it on the email lists.

I did pretty well this time, I think I saw most of the birds Paul ended up putting on our list.  I missed a few, but my average is getting better!

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