January 6, 2016 Happy New Year! To start the year off right, Jeremy and Sarah took off the the Northeastern United States to get away f...

RBS - A New England New Year - by Sarah Lucas

January 6, 2016

Happy New Year! To start the year off right, Jeremy and Sarah took off the the Northeastern United States to get away from work, spend some time together, and seek out some new species. A whirlwind weekend as they celebrate a New England New Year!!!
A New England New Year
by Sarah Lucas

January 1st couldn't arrive any sooner. Not only would it be a new year but my eBird list would soon be reset to zero. The anticipation was killing me, not only was the work stress of December taking a toll on me, all of these rare birds started popping up in the New England area earlier in the month. That's when Jeremy and I decided that it was time to take a mini trip at the end of the month; crossing our fingers that the rarities would stick.

What do you mean, "It's gone"??
We started the first leg of the trip by making it to the Brambling spot in Medina. Arriving at 3:30pm we were cutting it close. Too close. Let's just make this short and sweet, if someone is rushing you and you forget your binoculars in the car, YOU grab your damn binoculars before you make it to the stake out, and make sure your camera battery is in your camera. Don't make a mega mistake like I had done and miss the MEGA unlike Jeremy who had just seen it 1 minute prior to my second arrival. But I did give it an honest effort and waited for that damn bird to come back until it was too dark to see anything - but nothing - a miss for me. So a little lesson for everyone, do not forget ANYTHING. Never again will I make that mistake.

After Jeremy's success and my failed attempt at the Brambling, it was now time to make a 9 hour drive to Long Island, NY. Spending New Year's Eve in a car to go birding wouldn't be anyone else's definition of fun, but for us, rarities were waiting for us and rarities are always fun.

You can just see the tuft - Count it!
After a quick 4.5 hours of sleep at a rest stop it was back on the road, we were only 1.5 hours away from the tufted duck spot. When we made it to Capri Lake, more like a pond, the sun was started to come up. The entire area is built around houses and a tall chainlink fence separated the sidewalk from the water. Scoping through a fence on a sidewalk made it a little tricky but not as tricky as all of the scaup swimming around. But with 15 minutes of scoping Jeremy finds the Tufted Duck way in the back. Success! After a quick digiscope photo we were out of there and headed to Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY. It was painted bunting time.

Not only was the painted bunting still being reported, there was also a Black-Headed Gull also at the lake in the park. When we arrived, we had no idea where to go. This park is huge for it being in the city. So instinctively we follow another birder and catch up to chat. Captain Bob is what the locals call him. He pointed out some areas where it had been seen throughout the month. We separated to cover more ground. Not even 10 minutes later we hear Captain Bob shout out "OHIO!" We quickly go towards him, "right down there" he said, pointing in the shrubs. PAINTED BUNTING!! A little lady wasn't even 5 feet away from it taking all the photos she could get. The bird didn't seem to mind. We walk down to the path and saw our first painted bunting, who knew we'd get one in New York. After a quick photo op, it was time for black-headed gull. Now it was our turn to find a bird for Captain Bob.

As we passed a lady birder she told us she had the gull 30 minutes prior, nice. We started scanning the water, Jeremy spots it first. I get a glimpse until it starts to fly up. A family was feeding the Mute Swans and such, so the gulls were ready to go snag some free grub. We headed over towards them, and the Black-headed Gull was putting on a show for us. Great photo ops. Other local birders were there, and one of them, Andrew, took our photo for his album of birders on Facebook - pretty cool. We also asked about a local spot for finding Purple Sandpiper and Brant. There was one only 20 minutes away from the park, score, a quick snag before our next chase.
It was now time to leave New York, we had a date with a goose with little pink feet.

Hartford, Connecticut was a quick 2.5 hour drive. The Pink-Footed goose had been reported earlier in the day, awesome. A nostalgic bird to anyone who has seen the movie "The Big Year". When we arrived, there were hundreds of Canada's in the water. A needle in a haystack. We walked around, scoping every second. But as we walked down to the bank, there it was, right across from us. A life bird I never thought I would get so early in my time birding. Another success! We spent the rest of the daylight hours adding birds to our Connecticut list. That night we stayed at a friend's house and tried oysters for the first time. They were surprisingly good, but the clams, they taste like the ocean. As soon as dinner was finished, it was time for bed, as our wake up call was an early one, we were heading for Provincetown, Massachusetts.

We're going on a wild goose chase!

3:30am, too early, tough cookies. Race Point Beach was our destination. Ocean birds were the goal, including Dovekie. Pop tarts - breakfast on the go. It was a chilly 35 degrees on the beach, but that ocean wind made it feel so much cooler. As soon as we started scoping, Razorbills flew past, Common Eider rafts, along with Black and White-winged Scoter. As time went by we saw our first Northern Gannet for the year in the United States. We previously saw them in Canada in 2014. Another gannet zoomed by.

Not long after that, a dark bird speeds by near shore dodging the waves. MANX SHEARWATER! Something we thought would have only a slight possibility of seeing on this trip. Not much later another Manx comes by, then a Great Shearwater! VERY AWESOME!! We had several Manx come in all throughout the day. A few Iceland Gulls, Great Black-backed Gulls, Sanderlings, and tons of Black-legged Kittiwake, a lifer for me. After 3.5 hours of scoping the ocean, still no Dovekie. Time for a lunch break and warm up in the car before round two.

We decided to walk out to Race Point, which was almost a two hour round-trip walk through sand, something we didn't anticipate. As soon as we set up our scope we had about 40 minutes of daylight left. A lot of Manx, kittiwake, Ring-billed Gulls, Razorbill, Common Eider fly-by's and some Sanderlings was the end of our day. No Dovekie, a bummer.

After a nice 7 hour sleep in a hotel we left at 6:30am for a wild goose chase in Hartford, Connecticut once again before heading home.

Three Barnacle Goose were reported the day before. As we arrived many birders were scoping, no barnacles seen yet. There was a Snow Goose mixed in the hundreds upon hundreds of Canada's and three Greater White-fronted Geese on he bank across from us. Two more year birds, nice! As other birders were giving up on the barnacles, some decided to leave, and as soon as they did the barnacles were relocated! Not one but all three! LIFER! It was then time to head back home to Ohio.

This mini trip was a big success if I do say so myself and I'd like to think Jeremy would agree too. 2016 is off to a great start and we leave for south Texas on January 8th for a 10 day trip! Bird on! #roguebirder

Lifer summary:

Jeremy - Brambling
Sarah - 0 (Note: Sarah snagged the Brambling on 1/5/16!)

Jeremy- Tufted Duck, Painted Bunting, Black-headed Gull, Pink-footed Goose, Brant
Sarah - All of the above + Purple Sandpiper

Jeremy - Manx Shearwater
Sarah - Manx Shearwater, Black Scoter, Black-legged Kittiwake

Jeremy & Sarah- Barnacle goose

ABA LIFE LIST as of 1/03/2016
Jeremy- 489
Sarah- 443

You may also like

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.