Saturday, June 25 - Jamaica Bay
Flew back from Paris this week and started getting back into New York mode. I hadn't missed a lot of birds but there were a few year birds on offer down at Jamaica Bay. Decided to do a leisurely morning visit and wandered down to the preserve by about 8:45am. The main target was a White-faced Ibis, a bird that had been found two weeks ago and seen on and off since then, but not for a few days.
Settling in at a nice shady patch in the phragmites at the South end of the East Pond I decided to just wait it out and see what came along. There were a few Ibis around but all seemed to be Glossy Ibis. I could tell though that there was turnover, with a Ibis or two leaving every 10 minutes or so, and a few new ones dropping in for a freshwater drink after feeding in the salt marsh.
|Black Skimmer and Gull-billed Tern seen later from the "Raunt"|
|Crappy record shot - digiscoped at 70x on the scope (and extra zoom from the iPhone)|
|Barn Owls in Boxes ... pretty much how I see all my Barn Owls these days ...|
|The U.S. has good turtles ... Eastern Painted Turtle ....|
|The 'Other' Night-Heron .... Black-crowned ....|
So after checking the West Pond, and toying briefly with the idea of going back to the East Pond, I headed back to the City. When I got out of my car, I checked emails and saw that Ken and Suzy Feustel had just reported a Ruff from the East Pond. Hmmmm ... I'd had such a good morning, seen all my target birds, I guess I should have expected a karmic rebound like this. Still, there's always tomorrow .....
Sunday, June 26 - Jamaica Bay
Got to the East Pond at around 7:30am, and on the way got updates that Corey Finger had already seen the Ruff (yay!) but that he couldn't relocate it a little later (Boo!). Spent the next four hours with many other birders carefully scanning the East Pond but alas, at least as of when I had to leave, no Ruff.
"So are you doing a big year?" someone asked while I was there. "Never again" I replied. It does seem that some have speculated through. So let me give some context ....
By the end of June in 2012 my New York State year list was 322 Species. Ironically, Ruff was that 322nd species, seen at Montezuma NWR on June 25th. That's 40 species ahead of where I am this year. Even if I did want to do a big state year, which I don't, I'm way behind the pace and have missed way too many rare, and not so rate birds already. You can't just bird hard (which I am) in New York and build a big year total, Big Years are a completely different game requiring lots of chasing and few misses.
I do have a New York State goal for this year though, which was to see 300+ species and stay in the Top 10 of the NYS "Hot 100" on eBird. Just something to motivate me, and so far I seem to be on track ... but another New York Big Year? Hell no!
Just setting the record straight ....