Given that I was a late-adopter of eBird, and that I still have only a tiny fragment of my historic bird notes entered into the database, my county lists are perhaps a little sparse. The ones closer to home are pretty good though as I made the effort to enter historical goodies for New York and have birded them hard for the past few years. Suffolk County, New York in particular is pretty clean and I've been watching it with interest as it closed in on the magic 300-species mark (generally considered pretty respectable for any New York county). For the past week or two the list had been hovering at 299 so I was on alert for the big three-oh-oh. Today I got a shot when Peter Polshek called me to say that Tom Burke had found a Western Grebe at the Ponquogue Bridge.
In December, a group of birders from Pennsylvania had reported a Western Grebe from Montauk but none of the locals had been able to catch a glimpse. Then last week Steve Schellinger reported one from Kirk Park and the bird actually stuck around all day allowing several local birders to catch up with it. I unfortunately was in New York City that day and didn't have a chance to try for it. Many birders tried for the bird in the subsequent days but it wasn't to be found.
Today was my fist chance to look for the grebe so I went out to Montauk only to find out that the town was completely fogged in with almost no visibility. So much for that I though and doubled back to look for a reported dead whale on the beach at Napeague. Almost as soon as I got to the spot the phone rang and Peter Polshek gave me the news about the Ponquogue bird. And so off again, crawling through the Hamptons and taking more than an hour to go about 30 miles in traffic.
|Western Grebe (2 shots)|