2016 Field Trip Observations
Contributed by LSNY Members
Please send in your field observations, with or without illustration, for review and publishing to email@example.com
List of 2016 Field Observations:
- Massapequa, Capri, Capri Pond, Coastal Areas with Gabriel Willow — 12/3/2016
- Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge with Joseph DiCostanzo — 11/26/2016 (changed from 11/19/2016)
- Prospect Park with Steve Nanz leading for Peter Dorosh — 11/6/2016
- New Jersey Hotspots with Robert Machover — 10/29/2016
- Randall’s Island with Alan Drogin — 10/23/2016
- Floyd Bennett Field with Robert Jett — 10/15/2016
- Conference House/Mount Loretto (changed to Miller Field, SI) with Howard Fischer — 10/9/2016
- Alley Pond Park with Alan Drogin — 10/1/2016
- Hook Mountain with Robert Jett — 9/24/2016
- Fort Tilden with Richard ZeinEldeen — 9/11/2016
- Doodletown Trip with Paul Keim reported by Richard ZainEldeen — 5/22/2016
- Swainson’s Warbler by Barbara Saunders — 4/28/2016
- New Mexico trip with Rick Wright reported by Louise Fraza — 3/12/2016 to 3/15/2016
Massapequa, Capri, Capri Pond, Coastal Areas with Gabriel Willow — 12/3/2016
Trip included Robert Moses State Park, Jones Beach, Tobay Beach, Unqua Lake, Arthur J. Henderson Park in Valley Stream.
Participants: Kathy Drake (driver) Gordon/Lori Lam (driver), Miriam Rakowski, Sandra Paci, Louise Fraza, Alice Deutsch, Pearl Broder, Lenore Swenson (driver), Kathleen Howley, and Dale Dancis.
Weather: Partly sunny, 40 - 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Eleven Linnaean members showed up for this early winter trip. We started at the north end of the Massapequa reservoir area called Mansfield Park. Almost right away, Gabriel heard a Carolina wren, which he coaxed out into the open. Soon both members of a pair were showing climbing on the creepers along the stream. Then Gabriel noticed an old nest in the vicinity of the birds, which he said could very well have been where they had nested last spring. This was suggested by the proportion of twigs to grasses as well as the shape. Several different nests were then found and analyzed. Gabriel turned out to be an all-round naturalist who delighted us with information about the birds, trees and plants we encountered. This was a fast-paced trip that covered several ecological areas such as woodlands, creeks, reservoirs, lakes and shores and included some impressive landscapes along the Robert Moses Causeway. We made about 10 stops. Our final tally of 56 species included 17 duck species. We were happy to find redheads (at Capri Pond), northern pintails (Massapequa Lake), and surf and black scoters (Robert Moses). We had great looks at a red fox who was crossing the lawn at the needle at the Robert Moses State Park. Our last stop was at Valley Stream’s Henderson Park where the Pink-footed Goose was awaiting us.
By Louise Fraza
|Pink-footed Goose – 1, Henderson Park||Hooded Merganser – 44, 4 areas||Rock Pigeon|
|Brant – 22, 2 areas||Ruddy Duck – 43, 1 area||Mourning Dove|
|Canada Goose – 640, 5 areas||Red-throated Loon – 2, 1 area||Red-bellied Woodpecker – 2, 2 areas|
|Mute Swan – 15, 1 area||Common Loon – 3, 2 areas||Downy Woodpecker|
|Gadwall – 18, 3 areas||Pied-billed Grebe – 2, 1 area||Northern Flicker – 5|
|American Wigeon – 6, Large flock at
Santapogue Creek & 6 in other area
|Northern Gannet – 6, 1 area||Peregrine Falcon – 1|
|American Black Duck – 53, 4 areas||Double-crested Cormorant – 1, 1 area||American Crow – 1|
|Mallard – 45, 4 areas||Great Blue Heron – 2, 1 area||Carolina Wren – 2|
|Mallard (domestic type) – 4||Northern Harrier – 2, 2 areas||Golden-crowned Kinglet – 4|
|Northern Shoveler – 15, 2 areas||Sharp-shinned Hawk – 1, 1 area||American Robin – 12|
|Northern Pintail – 14, 1 area||Cooper`s Hawk – 1, 1 area||Northern Mockingbird – 2|
|Green-winged Teals – 6||Red-tailed Hawk – 1, 2, 2 areas||European Starling – 55|
|Redhead - Capri Pond||American Coot – 27, 2 areas||Cedar Waxwing – 5|
|Lesser Scaup – 17, 2 areas||Sanderling – 35, 1 area||Song sparrow|
|Surf Scoter – 11, Robert Moses||Peeps – 800 flying in the distance, 1 area||White-throated Sparrow – 6|
|Black Scoter – 14, Robert Moses||Ring-billed Gull – 68, 2 areas||Dark-eyed Junco – 2|
|Long-tailed Duck – 2, Robert Moses||Herring Gull – 18, 2 areas||Northern Cardinal – 3, 1 area|
|Bufflehead – 13, 1 area||Great Black-backed Gull – 12, 2 areas||House Finch – 1, 1 area|
|Red-breasted Merganser – 2, 1 area||? Gull species – 85||House Sparrows – 16, 2 areas|
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge with Joseph DiCostanzo — 11/26/2016 (changed from 11/19/2016)
Registrar: Kathleen Howley. Participants: Anne Lazarus (driver), Gordon/Lori Lam (driver), Jonathan Hyman (driver), Miriam Rakowski, Marsha Zuckerman, Alice Deutsch, Pearl Broder, and Louise Fraza.
Weather: Sunny am, cloudy pm, 40 degrees am to 50 degrees Fahrenheit pm.
|Canada Goose||Red-throated Loon – Ft. Tilden||Northern Flicker|
|Brant||Common Loon – Ft Tilden||American Crow|
|Mute Swan||Horned Grebe||Black-capped Chickadee|
|Gadwall||Double-crested Cormorant||American Robin|
|American Wigeon||Great Blue Heron||Northern Mockingbird|
|American Black Duck||Bald Eagle (adult) – South end East Pond||Yellow-rumped Warbler|
|Mallard||Red-tailed Hawk||Eastern Towhee|
|Northern Shoveler||Peregrine Falcon||American Tree Sparrow|
|Northern Pintail||American Oystercatcher||Song sparrow|
|Green-winged Teal||Sanderling – Ft. Tilden||White-throated Sparrow|
|Greater Scaup||Dunlin (a few) – South end East Pond||Dark-eyed Junco|
|Black Scotter – Ft. Tilden||Ring-billed Gull||Northern Cardinal|
|Bufflehead||Herring Gull||Boat-tailed Grackle – From car
going south on Broad Channel
|Hooded Merganser||Great Black-backed Gull||House Finch|
|Red-breasted Merganser||Rock Pigeon||House Sparrow|
|Ruddy Duck||Downy Woodpecker|
Prospect Park with Steve Nanz leading for Peter Dorosh — 11/6/2016
Participants: Gordon/Lori Lam and about 5 others.
|Canada Goose||Yellow-bellied Sapsucker||Yellow-rumped Warbler|
|Wood Duck||Northern Flicker||Common Yellowthroat|
|American Wigeon||Blue Jay||Chipping Sparrow|
|American Black Duck||Black-capped Chickadee||Vesper Sparrow|
|Mallard||Tufted titmouse||Song Sparrow|
|Northern Shoveler||White-breasted Nuthatch||Swamp Sparrow|
|Ruddy Duck||Brown Creeper||White-throated Sparrow|
|Double-crested Cormorant||Carolina Wren||Dark-eyed Junco|
|Red-tailed Hawk||Golden-crowned Kinglet||Northern Cardinal|
|Merlin||Ruby-crowned Kinglet||Red-winged Blackbird|
|American Coot||Hermit Thrush||Common Grackle|
|Killdeer (h)||American Robin||Purple Finch|
|Ring-billed Gull||Gray Catbird||House Finch|
|Herring Gull||Northern Mockingbird||American Goldfinch|
|Rock Pigeon||European Starling||House Sparrow|
|Mourning Dove||American Pipit (flyover)|
|Red-bellied Woodpecker||Orange-crowned Warbler|
New Jersey Hotspots with Robert Machover — 10/29/2016
Participants: Anne Lazarus (driver), Karen Asakawa, Louise Fraza, and Miriam Rakowski.
Weather: cloudy am, sunny pm, calm, 40 degrees in the am to 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the pm.
|Brant||Ring-billed Gull||American Robin|
|Canada Goose||Herring Gull||Northern Mockingbird|
|American Black Duck||Great Black-backed Gull||European Starling|
|Mallard||Rock Pigeon||Northern Parula|
|Bufflehead||Mourning Dove||Yellow-rumped Warbler|
|Common Loon||Downy Woodpecker||Chipping Sparrow|
|Double-crested Cormorant||Northern Flicker||Field Sparrow|
|Great Blue Heron||Eastern Phoebe||Savannah Sparrow|
|Black Vulture (rare for Sandy Hook)||Blue-headed Vireo||Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow|
|Turkey Vulture||Blue Jay||Song Sparrow|
|Cooper's Hawk||American Crow||Swamp Sparrow|
|Red-tailed Hawk||Tree Swallows||Dark-eyed Junco|
|American Kestrel||Red-breasted Nuthatch||Northern Cardinal|
|Black-bellied Plover||Brown Creeper||Red-ringed Blackbirds|
|American Oystercatcher||Carolina Wren||House Finch|
|Dunlin||Golden-crowned Kinglets (numerous)||American Goldfinch|
|Laughing Gull||Ruby-crowned Kinglet||House Finch|
|Butterflies:||Orange Sulfur, Cabbage White, Monarch|
Randall’s Island with Alan Drogin — 10/23/2016
Trip changed from 10/22/2016 because of inclement weather.
Participants: Miriam Rakowski, Anne Lazarus, Judy Rabi (driver), Gordan/Lori Lam (driver), Marsha Zuckerman (driver), Alice Deutsch, and Louise Fraza.
Weather: Sunny, gusty wind 20 – 30 mph, 54 – 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
|Brant - numerous||Mourning Dove||Black-and-White Warbler|
|Canada Geese||Belted Kingfisher – 1||Common Yellowthroat|
|Mute Swan||Downy Woodpecker||Chipping Sparrow|
|Wood Duck||Northern Flicker||Savannah Sparrow|
|Double-crested Cormorant||American Crow||Sharp-tailed Saltmarsh Sparrow|
|Cooper`s Hawk||Black-capped Chickadee||Song Sparrow|
|Red-tailed Hawk||Ruby-crowned Kinglet||Swamp Sparrow|
|Peregrine Falcon||Hermit Thrush||White-throated Sparrow|
|Killdeer||American Robin||Dark-eyed Junco|
|Laughing Gulls||Northern Mockingbird||Northern Cardinal|
|Ring-billed Gulls||European Starlings||Eastern Meadowlark – 1|
|Herring Gulls||Cedar Waxwing||Common Grackle (flyover)|
|Great Black-backed Gulls||Yellow-rumped Warbler||House Sparrows|
|Rock Pigeons||Blackpoll Warbler|
|Butterflies:||Cabbage White, Clouded Sulfur, Orange Sulfur, Red Admiral, Monarch|
Floyd Bennett Field with Robert Jett — 10/15/2016
Registrar: Monica Berger. Participants: Isabel Conte (driver), Elizabeth Ridley, and Gordon/Lori Lam (driver).
Weather: Sunny, 50 degrees in the am, 70 degrees Fahrenheit pm. 5 miles of walking
|Brant - numerous||Eastern Phoebe||Magnolia Warbler – 1|
|Canada Geese||Blue Jays||Blackpoll – 1|
|Northern harrier – 1||American Crows||Palm Warblers|
|Sharp-shinned Hawks – 3||Tree Swallows||Yellow-rumped Warblers|
|Cooper’s Hawk – 1||Black-capped Chickadee – 1||Chipping Sparrows|
|Red-shouldered Hawk – 1||Red-breasted Nuthatch – 1||Field Sparrow – 3|
|Red-tailed Hawk – 1||White-breasted Nuthatch – 1||Dark-eyed Juncos|
|Killdeer – 14||Brown Creeper – 1||White-crowned Sparrow – 1|
|Laughing Gulls||Carolina Wren – 1||Savannah Sparrows|
|Ring-billed Gulls||Golden-crowned Kinglets||Song Sparrows|
|Herring Gulls||Ruby-crowned Kinglet||Swamp Sparrows|
|Rock Pigeons||American Robins||Northern Cardinals|
|Mourning Doves||Northern Mockingbirds||Red-winged Blackbirds|
|Downy Woodpecker – 1||European Starlings||House Finches|
|Northern Flicker||American Pipits – 6||American Goldfinches|
|American Kestrel – 3||Cedar Waxwing – 6||House Sparrows|
|Mourning Dove||Common Yellowthroat – 1|
Conference House/Mount Loretto (changed to Miller Field, SI) with Howard Fischer — 10/9/2016
Participants: Judy Rabi (driver), Gina Goldstein, and Miriam Rakowski (Some cancellations due to rain).
Weather: Rain! With maybe a few breaks from the heavy rain.
|Brant||Double-crested Cormorant||Rock Pigeon|
|Canada Geese||Killdeer||European Starling|
|Mallard||Royal Tern (flyover)||Yellow-rumped Warbler – 1|
Alley Pond Park with Alan Drogin — 10/1/2016
Participants: Anne Lazarus (driver), Lynne Hertzog (driver), Gina Goldstein, Miriam Rakowski, Sandra Paci, and Alice Deutsch.
Weather: ~60 degrees Fahrenheit, Calm, Cloudy with a little light rain in the early morning.
|Canada Goose – Kissena||White-breasted Nuthatch||Blackpoll – Kissena|
|Mallard – Kissena||Golden-crowned Kinglet||Black-and-White Warbler – Alley/Kissena|
|Double-crested Cormorant – Kissena||Ruby-crowned Kinglet||American Redstart – Alley/Kissena|
|Merlin||Wood thrush||Common Yellowthroat – Alley/Kissena|
|Herring Gull (flyover)||Hermit Thrush||Scarlet Tanager – Alley|
|Rock Pigeon||Gray Catbird||Eastern Towhee|
|Mourning Dove||Northern Mockingbird||Chipping Sparrow|
|Chimney Swift||Brown Thrasher||Savannah Sparrow – Kissena|
|Red-bellied Woodpecker||European Starling||Song Sparrow|
|Yellow-bellied Sapsucker||Cedar Waxwing – Kissena||Lincoln Sparrow – Alley|
|Downy Woodpecker||Northern Parula – Alley/Kissena||Swamp Sparrow – Alley/Kissena|
|Eastern Phoebe||Magnolia Warbler – Alley/Kissena||White-throated Sparrow – Alley/Kissena|
|Great-crested Flycatcher||Cape May Warbler – Kissena||Common Grackle|
|Red-eyed Vireo||Black-throated Blue Warbler – Alley/Kissena||Baltimore Oriole – Alley|
|Blue Jay||Yellow-rumped Warbler – Alley/Kissena||House Sparrow|
|Black-capped Chickadee||Pine Warbler – Kissena|
|Dragonfly:||Green Darner – Kissena|
Hook Mountain with Robert Jett — 9/24/2016
Participants: Judy Rabi (driver), Sue Axelrod (driver), Magda Binion, Paul Hardwick, Stacey Tauber, and Miriam Rakowski.
Weather: Cloudy, low 50’s to about 70 degrees Fahrenheit with clearing in the afternoon.
|Great Blue Heron – 5||Northern Harrier – 2||Downy Woodpecker|
|Double-crested Cormorant – 20||Osprey – 21||Northern Flicker|
|Canada Goose||Red-shouldered Hawk – 1||Eastern Phoebe|
|Bald Eagle – 7||Broad-winged Hawk – 42||Blue Jay|
|Turkey Vulture – 7||Red-tailed hawk – 1||White-breasted Nuthatch|
|Black Vulture – 14||Merlin – 1||American Robin|
|Sharp-shinned Hawk – 16||Peregrine Falcon – 2||Black-throated Blue Warbler|
|Cooper's Hawk – 6||Red-bellied Woodpecker||Yellow-rumped Warbler|
Fort Tilden with Richard ZeinEldeen — 9/11/2016
Participents: Anne Lazarus (driver), Lenore Swenson (driver), Judy Rabi (driver) Gordon, Lori Lam (driver), Miriam Rakowski, Louise Fraza, Gina Goldstein, and Sandra Maury.
Weather: Sunny, calm, 60 - 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
|Canada Goose (Floyd Bennett)||Downy Woodpecker (h)||Cedar Waxwing|
|Double-crested Cormorant||Northern Flicker||Black-and-White Warbler|
|Great Egret||American Kestrel||Common Yellowthroat|
|Red-tailed Hawk||Peregrine Falcon||Northern Parula|
|American Oystercatcher||American Crow||Palm Warbler|
|Black-bellied Plover||Tree Swallow||Eastern Towhee (h)|
|Killdeer (h)||Carolina Wren (h)||Song Sparrow|
|Sanderling||Blue-gray Gnatcatcher||Scarlet Tanager (Judy's car)|
|Laughing Gull||American Robin||House Finch|
|Ring-billed Gull||Gray Catbird||American Goldfinch|
|Great Black-backed Gull||Northern Mockingbird||House Sparrow|
|Common Tern||European Starling|
|Mammal: Eastern Gray Squirrel|
|Butterflies: Black Swallowtail, Cabbage White, Common Buckeye, Monarch|
|Moth: Evening Primrose Moth|
|Dragonflies: Common Green Darner, Black Saddlebags, Carolina, Saddlebags, Wandering Glide|
|Other Insects: Annual Cicada (h), Field Cricket (h), Seaside Grasshopper|
|Invertebrate: Holes in the sand of the Ghost Crab|
Doodletown Trip with Paul Keim — 5/22/2016
Trip Report by Richard ZainEldeen, published 5/29/2016.
Participants: Ardith Bondi ( Driver ), Anne Lazarus ( Driver ), Miriam Rakowski, Ryan Candee, Dale Dancis, Sarah Pollack, and Richard ZainEldeen.
Weather: Cloudy am, upper 50s sunny pm, 70 F. Leader: Paul Keim,
The Linnaean trip to Doodletown, New York, led by our wonderful leader and naturalist, Paul Keim took place on Sunday, May 22, 2016. We heard and saw seventy-five species of birds. Highlights included hearing a very vocal Mourning Warbler. We heard the Kentucky Warbler but the bird did not show for observation. On the other hand, the Hooded Warbler was beautifully photographed as it posed for pictures.
Other warblers included: Worm-eating, Tennessee, Blackpoll, Chestnut-sided, Cerulean, American Redstart, Blue-winged Warbler, Northern and Louisiana Waterthrush, Black-and-White Warbler, and Yellow Warbler.
Yellow-throated Vireos, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Scarlet Tanagers, Baltimore Orioles and Orchard Orioles were among the other birds we saw and heard. The list of exciting birds is too long to mention.
Butterflies emerged with sunny skies. Juvenal’s Duskywings, Hobomoke Skippers, Silver-spotted Skipper, Spicebush and Eastern Tiger Swallowtail and Spring Azure were sighted. We also saw a beautiful Eight-spotted Forester’s Moth. Paul found and identified reptiles, including a Northern Water Snake sunning on a rock. We learned about the plants that grow in Doodletown, such as Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Highbush Blueberry, Lady’s Slipper and Rattlesnake Plantain (orchid family). Many of these plants were photographed.
The trip to Doodletown was educational as well as exciting.
|Canada Goose||American Crow||Black-and-White Warbler|
|Mallard||Blue Jay||American Redstart|
|Wild Turkey||Tree Swallow||WORM-EATING WARBLER|
|Green Heron||Barn Swallow||Northern Waterthrush|
|Black Vulture||Rough-winged Swallow||Louisiana Waterthrush|
|Turkey Vulture||Black-capped Chickadee||KENTUCKY WARBLER (h)|
|Cooper`s Hawk||Tufted Titmouse||MOURNING WARBLER (h)|
|Broad-winged Hawk||Carolina Wren (h)||HOODED WARBLER|
|Mourning Dove||Blue-gray Gnatcatcher||Common Yellowthroat|
|Yellow-billed Cuckoo||Veery||Scarlet Tanager|
|Ruby-throated Hummingbird||Wood Thrush||Chipping Sparrow|
|Red-bellied Woodpecker||American Robin||Song Sparrow|
|Northern Flicker||Gray Catbird||Swamp Sparrow|
|Downy Woodpecker||Northern Mockingbird||Northern Cardinal|
|Hairy Woodpecker||European Starling||Rose-breasted Grosbeak|
|Pileated Woodpecker||Cedar Waxwing||Indigo Bunting|
|Eastern Wood Peewee||Blue-winged Warbler||Red-winged Blackbird|
|Eastern Phoebe||TENNESSEE WARBLER||Common Grackle|
|Great Crested Flycatcher||Yellow Warbler||Brown-headed Cowbird|
|Eastern Kingbird||Chestnut-sided Warbler||Orchard Oriole|
|Yellow-throated Vireo||Blackpoll Warbler||Baltimore Oriole|
|Warbling Vireo||Black-throated Blue Warbler||American Goldfinch|
|Red-eyed Vireo||CERULEAN WARBLER||House Sparrow|
|Butterflies:||Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Spicebush Swallowtail, Cabbage White, Spring Azure, Juvenal’s Duskywing, Hobomoke Skipper, Silver-spotted Skipper|
|Invertibrates:||Millipede, Six-spotted Eastern Tiger Beetle, Field Crickets|
|Mammals:||Eastern Gray Squirrel, Eastern Chipmunk, White-tailed Deer|
Swainson’s Warbler — 4/28/2016
This Swainson’s Warbler, a rare visitor to Central Park, was identified by Andrew Rubenfeld and Alice Deutsch early in the morning on April 28th near the Strawberry Fields Imagine mosaic. Birders came running! It foraged in the undergrowth all day, allowing bird enthusiasts from near and far to flock to Central Park for great views, albeit from ground level.
New Mexico trip with Rick Wright — 3/12/2016 to 3/15/2016
Trip Report by Louise Fraza, published 4/3/2016.
Participants: Anne Lazarus, Debra McMillan, Karen Asakawa, Gina Goldstein and Louise Fraza, Registrar defacto.
We started on a bright, beautiful spring day in the Rio Grande State Park in Albuquerque. There were flowering trees and young greens but the old cottonwoods in the park were still hanging on to their old, dried-up leaves, which rustled in the light breeze. The river, so close to its source in southern Colorado, was wide and mighty. We observed a pair of Bushtits building their long pendulous nest, which involved some interesting acrobatics. There were numerous White-crowned Sparrows, several subspecies of Dark-eyed Juncos, Spotted Towhees, an Eastern Bluebirds and other woodland birds. On the water were numerous Wood Ducks, Cinnamon Teal and other duck species as well as a few Wilson’s Snipe.
The nearby Sandia Mountains were our other Albuquerque destination. By the afternoon the sky had clouded over and we encountered some snow flurries during our ascent and again at the top at eight thousand feet. The higher we went, the more snow cover was left on the ground. It was 24 degrees and windy when we got to the top. The glass-enclosed restaurant with the feeder in the pine trees outside and comfortable chairs inside, was just what we needed there, especially since some of us were experiencing some mild altitude reactions. Small flocks of birds descended on the feeder from time to time including Mountain Chickadees and the various subspecies of Dark-eyed Juncos. Soon, Rick started seeing some rosy-finches nearby and then on the feeder. Eventually a big group of at least 50 visited the feeder. They were mostly Gray-crowned and Black but Rick spotted a Brown-capped, which is less numerous and was a life bird for Rick as it was for everyone in our group.
Bosque del Apache is a wild stretch of the Rio Grande river about two hours east of Albuquerque. It is a National Wildlife Refuge and a famous winter destination for Sandhill Cranes and geese. The heart of the refuge consists of 12,900 acres of moist bottomlands consisting of flood plains, pools and ponds. The cranes had already left for Nebraska, where Rick was planning to catch up with them on his tour for VENT afterwards. We drove slowly around this beautiful refuge encountering almost all the duck species, several Neotropic Cormorants and some leftover Ross’s Geese. We watched a loud, enthusiastic Bewick’s Wren working shrub after shrub along the water’s edge. Near the visitor’s center we observed a small flock of Brewer’s Sparrows, every stripe and mark clearly visible in the bright light. Whoever said they were dull? There were Pyrrhuloxia near the feeders, as well as the ubiquitous White-crowed Sparrows and White-winged Doves.
Our next birding destination was the site of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken lek near the Texas border. We left our hotel in Roswell at 4 am to meet with Grant, a researcher with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, who drove ahead of us for several miles in the dark through some sandy tracks behind a farm. Gina remarked that this was the most hard-core birding she had done yet. Then we waited with the windows open until we started hearing strange sounds in the dark outside: chips, chucks, hoots and gurgles, which were coming from dark, moving shapes outside. Gradually, as the dawn advanced, the shapes revealed themselves to have big reddish air sacks, raised tails and ear plumes and spread wingtips and to be rushing at each other and interacting in other intimidating ways. We were on a lek of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken. It was estimated that about 15 males visit this lek, a big one for this rare and declining species. It was early in the season and the females had not yet arrived.
Our afternoon that day was spent at Bitter Lake, a National Wildlife Refuge just a few miles outside of Roswell. It is part of the Pecos River watershed situated where the Chihuahuan desert meets the Southern Plains. Here we spotted some lingering Sandhill Cranes high in the sky, alerting us to their presence by their gurgling cries. In a windless spot with great light we found some new waterfowl and were able to study in our scopes all the wonderful ducks we had seen before. New were the American Avocets, Eared Grebes, Snowy Egret and a shore bird, the Snowy Plover, which appeared to have newly arrived to this nesting site.
It was a long way back from Roswell to Albuquerque. Rick had planned for us to stop about a third of the way at the Salazar Canyon camp site but due to high winds that day it was hard to find birds. Eventually we found a quiet spot where we indulged in the simple pleasure of watching birds from the car. After good looks at Mountain Bluebirds we observed a mixed flock of Western Bluebirds, Dark-eyed Juncos, freshly plumaged Chipping Sparrows and Northern Flickers for quite a relaxing while. Our final stop on the way back was at "Taco Bell" Marsh, close to Albuquerque, where we had one last look at ducks and shorebirds and saw a new trip mammal, the Black-Tailed Prairie Dog. We saw the last bird of the trip after dinner when Rick took us to a school yard on the outskirts of town where we saw a Western Screech-Owl sitting at the entrance of a nest box. This brought our total for the 4-day trip to 114 birds.
Bird List – New Mexico March 12 thru 14, 2016
Snow Goose, Ross’s Goose, Cackling Goose, Canada Goose, Wood Duck, Gadwall, American Widgeon, Mallard, Blue-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Canvasback, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Ruddy Duck, Common Merganser,
Scaled Quail, Gambel’s Quail, Lesser Prairie-Chicken,
Pied-billed Grebe, Eared Grebe, Neotropic Cormorant, Great Egret, Snowy Egret,
Turkey Vulture, Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Golden Eagle,
American Coot, Sandhill Crane, American Avocet, Snowy Plover, Killdeer, Greater Yellowlegs, Wilson’s Snipe, Ring-billed Gull,
Rock Pigeon, Eurasian Collared-Dove, White-winged Dove, Mourning Dove,
Greater Roadrunner, Western Screech-Owl, Great Horned Owl, Belted Kingfisher,
Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker,
American Kestrel, Merlin, Black Phoebe, Say’s Phoebe, Kingbird Sp., Loggerhead Shrike, Steller’s Jay, American Crow, Chihuahuan Raven, Common Raven, Horned Lark, Tree Swallow, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Barn Swallow,
Black-capped Chickadee, Mountain Chickadee, Bushtit, White-breasted Nuthatch, Bewick’s Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Eastern Bluebird, Western Bluebird, Mountain Bluebird, Hermit Thrush, American Robin, Curve-billed thrasher, Crissal Thrasher, Sage Thrasher, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, American Pipit, Phainopepla, Yellow-rumped Warbler,
Spotted Towhee, Canyon Towhee, Chipping Sparrow, Brewer’s Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Lark Bunting, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Lincoln Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco,
Pyrrhuloxia, Red-winged Blackbird, Western Meadowlark, Eastern Meadowlark, Brewer’s Blackbird, Common Crackle, Great-tailed Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch, Brown-capped Rosy-Finch, Black Rosy-Finch, House Finch, Pine Siskin, Lesser Goldfinch, House Sparrow.
Total number of birds seen - 114
Mammals: Pronghorn, Eastern Cottontail, Coyote, Black-tailed Prairie Dog, Rock Squirrel, Cliff Chipmunk, Abert’s Squirrel.