Lifers indicated in bold
With one week before school starts, was I going to take it easy? No. I was going to step up my game and work harder to get as many species as I can before I went back because I knew that once I was back at ESF, rare birds I could only dream about seeing in New York would stay dreams. First thing I needed was to knock off several members of the duck family, starting with King Eiders at Jones beach. After getting lost in search of a bathroom, my mom and I walked out towards the jetty only to turn back because it was too windy at the beach. Not without me getting Greater Scaup, Common Goldeneye, and other assorted birds (including American Pipit)
Eiders: 1. Me: 0
The rest of the week went like this: birding on one day, then a hiatus for the next. Tuesday was the hiatus while Wednesday is when I actually got to go birding again. The plan was this: start with a rarity that was the farthest away and work our way back (I say our because I'm dragging my mother who is a birder in training along and I can't drive yet). Most of these sites were places to get there, check for the bird, and then drive off again. The first one we went to was Mill Pond in Sayville, where a Eurasian Wigeon found before Thanksgiving Day last year (which I got last year). Needless to say, it was still there.
Next spot was Brightwaters canal where a Barrow's Goldeneye had been reported. Unfortunately, the canal was frozen and as a result, no goldeneye.
The last rarity we went for was a continuing Townsend's Solitaire, which I had missed by minutes and got my shoes and pants coated in snow for nothing.
Well, one out of three targets isn't that bad, I've had much more painful* dips on rarities (missed those rarities by an hour, a day, and SECONDS respectively, even though GOEA isn't rare for Colorado)
After leaving Thursday as a break day, we were going to look for geese in the distant sod farms of Yaphank. Specifically Ross's and Cackling. The fog was too thick for me to see anything. My mom suggested we go to a pond in Centerport that I always manage to find something good in. This time, just a raft of Canvasbacks as well as Ruddy and American Black Ducks, or so I thought. While I was looking for stuff on the other side of the road, a small flock of Canada Geese had flown in to the main pond, followed by more. Now was my chance to find a rarity. Careful scanning of the Canadas revealed a Cackling Goose.
Today I decided would be for round two of the King Eider search. The previously reported immature male and near adult male Kings had been joined by two females. Sounded like a walk in the park? NO. This time, my dad was back on rotation. While we got farther than last time, the wind forced us to abandon the jetty and move on to my new plan: search for a Snowy Owl. Unfortunately, that was a no show too.
It wasn't until after we birded at west end that the eiders were last seen at Point Lookout, not Jones Beach. My mom volunteered to take me, and we quickly ran into another pair of birders whom I would later find out that one of them is Brian Whipple. The four of us scanned the jetties and quickly found a few Common Eiders among the raft of Greater Scaup present. Shortly after a large flock of Common Eiders flew up Jones Beach Inlet towards the Great South Bay. While my mom had backed out, the other birders and I had found an eider which we thought was one of the female Kings and it was... another Common
Were the King Eiders in the northbound flock of Commons? Probably, it's most likely we overlooked them...
To be continued...
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