One of the many species I missed in the last chapter was Red-necked Grebe, a species that is not predictable in any location on Long Island. I checked the spot where one was recently reported, but unfortunately, no grebes.
After a failed search for Eared Grebe, my grandmother and I went to Alley Pond Park to get the Red-necked Grebe that has been at the restoration pond since November (it's not easy to find, we had to climb over a fallen tree before I realized we were going the wrong way). Finding the grebe was easy, getting a picture was not, as my phone died shortly after. The photo I used for the grebe was taken on my grandmother's phone, which I edited and sent back to her. Three more grebes to go until I've seen all the ABA Area grebes this year (still need Eared, Western, and Clark's).
Late in the afternoon, my mom and I set out for the Black Dirt region and Shawangunk Grasslands NWR in upstate New York. When we got to the Black Dirt region, the roads were barely accessible and as narrow as they could possibly get. We were more worried about getting stuck than birding, so I did not get any new birds there. The drive to Shawangunk was fortunately much safer. We got there around sunset, and just in time for the action to happen, as 6 Short-eared Owls were circling the meadow hunting for voles. I also heard a male Ring-necked Pheasant and the flight call of a Lapland Longspur.
The next morning, we set out for the Red-headed Woodpeckers on Van Nostrand Road. This was one of the easiest of my targets, as it didn't take long for us to find one.
After the woodpecker, the next species I set out for is Golden Eagle, an old nemesis of mine, on Berkshire Road in Dutchess county. Like with Black Dirt region, the roads here were not the best (at least they were paved). We drove down the road looking for eagles until we got to the bottom, where we eventually had a Golden Eagle flyover with one of the many Red-tailed Hawks in the area. Nemesis no more!
On the way back home, we went to Floyd Bennett Field to follow up on a Mew Gull reported from their the day before. When we got there, it was extremely windy, and I had to fight really hard to stand up. Fortunately, I saw the Mew Gull fly past me then land under a bridge. Unfortunately I couldn't get pictures, and had to leave quickly.
I returned to Syracuse tantalizingly close to 300 for my ABA yearlist. It's going to be an uphill battle from now until May, but I'll keep at it, one bird at a time...
To be continued...
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