Tree Swallows had nested in boxes along the path.
Then I saw a new life bird: Willow Flycatcher. Unfortunately, I couldn't get a photo of it. I was luckier a few minutes later when I came across a mass of Canada Geese with ducks and swans.
Mixed in with many Mallards were several American Black Ducks, another life bird for me.
Here as elsewhere, I was surprised to see that yuccas thrive in the refuge.
The next section of the trail was quiet except for male and female, adult and juvenile Red-winged Blackbirds.
Jamaica Bay has a nesting population of terrapins. Although they nest in an area closed to the public, I was lucky enough to run into one female who had decided to go it alone. I watched while she dug a hole in the middle of the path and then laid her eggs in it.
The final section of the trail ran through a woodland area. This is the only section of the refuge where you are allowed to leave the gravel path and it was hopping with birds.
Once again, there were Gray Catbirds everywhere but this time their numbers were matched by those of American Robins and Brown Thrashers. I think I saw more Thrashers in ten minutes than I'd seen in the previous ten years. Even better, one of them treated me to a treetop serenade.
Another tree top had a pair of crows. I assumed they were American Crows but, when I heard their calls, I realized they were Fish Crows. Another life bird!
A flash of bright red in nearby shrubs caught my eye: The most dramatically colored American Redstart I've ever seen. Although he wouldn't stay still for a photo, his mate was more obliging.
As time was running out, I headed for the exit, passing more Catbirds, Thrashers, American Robins and even a Marsh Wren on the way.
I really wish I could have stayed longer at the refuge. It was much more beautiful than I expected. Also, given that I visited at the worst time of year, the birding had been very productive: 27 species including three life birds. So next time I come to NYC, I'll make sure I set aside a whole day for Jamaica Bay.