Lifers indicated in bold
If I could use one word to describe the Captree CBC I participated on yesterday, I would say it was epic.
It started at 7:00 with a seawatch for an hour, in which we logged a good flight of all three scoters (except Common), Long-tailed Ducks, all three mergansers, surprisingly a few freshwater waterfowl species (Snow Geese, Wood and American Black Ducks), both loons, a Horned Grebe, Northern Gannets, two Great Blue Herons, a Razorbill, Sanderlings, Dunlins, two Black-legged Kittiwakes, four species of gull (Bonaparte's, Herring, Ring-billed, and Great Black-backed), a flock of Snow Buntings, and a flyover Lapland Longspur. Two Humpback Whales and a Gray Seal were also sighted and I managed to record my part for a trailer video (which I need to ask Drew when that will be released). Last time, my father and I had found one within a flock of Horned Larks in the field 5 parking lot, but this time, nothing except for the larks. Doesn't sound too interesting, right? It gets better. As we patrolled the lot, I spotted a Snowy Owl on top of a dune near the entrance to the beach, and this one was really close too.
That wasn't the best bird on the count. It gets much better. My route goes all the way to the Fire Island Lighthouse, which includes ideal habitat for sparrows, most of which were Song, but I had a few juncos and Mockingbirds as well. Once my dad and I got past the lighthouse, I decided to see what I could pish in, and it brought in a reasonable amount of Yellow-rumps, juncos, and White-throated Sparrows. In an unsuccessful attempt to find Common Eider for the count, I made the mistake of walking back to the parking lot on the beach (we did get more LTDU, scoters, sandpipers, and a second Razorbill though). While hoping to pick out a second longspur (which never happened), we got a call from our count's compiler that they had found a Mountain Bluebird and were giving us a ride to see it.
We were mostly done covering our area by that point, so we could afford to chase a rarity. On the drive out there, we ran into some trouble: Pat's car had gotten stuck in the sand and we had to get out and push it. After that obstacle was cleared, we made it and several birders were already there. Then we had other issues: Pat had tried sending an email to the NYbirds listserv, but the email would not send. Fortunately, I was able to post my digiscoped photos of the bluebird with location to the NY Rare Bird Alert Facebook group. Having chased a rarity and gotten the word out, my dad and I had left to thaw out.
My totals from the count can be found here: ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S41150268
UPDATE: As of Monday 12/18, the MOBL has been relocated in the same area by several other birders.
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