Tuesday, July 07, 2009

July 4th in NYC: Part 2

After watching the Ospreys, I was a little afraid that the rest of my time at Jamaica Bay would be an anticlimax. I needn't have worried. There were several more treats in store.

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.

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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.

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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.
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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.

4 comments:

Birdwoman said...

Congratulations on a very productive trip. Three life birds - wow!

Jeff said...

I was surprised to see 3 lifers, especially given that I only saw about 27 species in total.
The highlight was the Ospreys, even though they weren't new birds.

Pam said...

What a great trip for you! Great photos too.

Jeff said...

Thanks, Pam. I was very pleasantly surprised by Jamaica Bay - and by NYC in general. The latter has certainly improved a lot since I lived there for some months in 1990.