Friday, July 18, 2014

Odds and Ends: Leatherback Sea Turtle, Collared-Dove, Avocet, etc.

Well, that post title probably got your attention. First, only one of the above was in Inwood Hill Park. I spent most of June and the beginning of July in the field on Great Gull Island doing tern research. Besides the nesting Common and Roseate terns, the birds were, for the most part, our regularly expected species. We did have a number of Common Eiders summering in the Sound around the island - one of which I saw eaten by a Gray Seal! Also hanging out with the eiders (all of which were immature males and females) were two immature male Black Scoters. The most unusual sighting was from the boat headed back to the mainland on July 10. We were all surprised and delighted to see a Leatherback Sea Turtle in Long Island Sound. The turtle was spotted by Joan Walsh and seen by Margaret Rubega, Loretta Stillman and the rest of the Great Gull Islanders on board.

Most of my time back in the city has been spent catching up on office work, but the other morning (July 15), I got down to West 23rd Street to see the Eurasian Collared-Dove that has been hanging around there of late. I have seen this species in Europe and in Florida and California now that it has become established in this country, but this was my first in New York. I have to thank my friend, Sean Sime, for finding the bird Tuesday morning and saving me from a long search for it. That afternoon, I was walking home from the 207th Street A train station when Nadir called me on my cell to tell me that James Knox had found an American Avocet at Dyckmann Street and the Hudson River. I dropped my stuff at home and headed down to Dyckmann where I encountered Nadir, just leaving and James standing on the pier with his spotting scope pointed at the Avocet which was standing on the wooden dock south of the marina/restaurant. A really great find by James, and possibly a first record for the species for New York county. While we watched the bird, Anders Peltomma arrived via the subway, having seen Nadir's post about the bird. Anders and I then waited for Dale Dancis to make her way uptown via the rush hour traffic and thunderstorms to see the bird. It was gone the next morning.

Yesterday, July 18, I watched two Peregrine Falcons from my apartment window chasing each other around and harassing the Herring Gulls on the canal off Muscota Marsh at the north end of Inwood Hill Park. Unfortunately, I have not had a chance to get into the park since I got back.