From Point Lookout we headed over to the West End of Jones Beach. On the island across from the Coast Guard Station there was a group of 10-12 Piping Plovers. Further along the shoreline Ed spotted a lone Boat-tailed Grackle. In the bay by the Coast Guard Station were three Horned Grebes, two in fairly advanced breeding plumage. Single flyby American Kestrel and Cooper's Hawk were our first raptors of the day while two Northern Harriers worked the dunes between the West End 2 parking field and the inlet. While working the vegetation around the Coast Guard parking area we had seen some Tree Swallows flying overhead, but that did not prepare us for the spectacle we later found on the grass off the road between the West End 2 lot and the Nature Center lot. Carpeting a section of grass was a large flock of perhaps 300 or more Tree Swallows (with a couple of Brown-headed Cowbirds thrown in).
|Part of a flock of Tree Swallows on the ground at Jones Beach. © Joseph DiCostanzo|
|Pine Warbler on ground at Jones Beach. © Joseph DiCostanzo|
From Jones we headed back west towards Jamaica Bay, stopping at Baisley Pond Park in Queens on the way. Baisley Pond Park is just north of the Belt Parkway and a little east of the Van Wyck. I had never been there before, but there have been numerous reports of a good variety of waterfowl there lately. It was not a disappointment! We found about 40 Redheads on the pond, perhaps the largest number of that species i have ever seen in one place on Long Island. There were also a dozen Ring-necked Ducks, small numbers of Gadwall, American Wigeon and about 80 American Coot. Calling Fish Crows were also flying around the park.
Jamaica Bay was relatively quiet, but small flocks of Snow Geese were a treat along with our first Osprey and Eastern Phoebes of the year. Definitely a fun birding day.