|Common Ground-Dove, Jones Beach S. P. © Joseph DiCostanzo|
All thought of the longspurs was forgotten as we left Jones and headed for Floyd Bennett. Not only was the Cassin's Kingbird a year bird, but it would be a New York State bird for me. There is only one previous record for the species in New York, out at Montauk in 2007, and I hadn't gotten out to see that bird. I called Sean from the road to get specific details about the location of the bird at Floyd - he was on his way there with his daughter. He had been in Prospect Park with her when he got the word about the kingbird. When Ann and I arrived, we heard the bird had been spooked by a Sharp-shinned Hawk and now good numbers of birders were hunting for it. While we looked in the area it had last been seen in, word went out among the hunters that it was back near the community gardens where it had first been seen. Ann and I (and a bunch of other birders) hurried back only to find the bird had disappeared again. Everyone spread out again. Ann and I had gotten separated during the hunt, but Ann called me on my cell to say she was heading back to our car to rest her knee while I continued searching. I happened to be standing in front of the car at that moment, facing the picnic area the bird had been frequenting. I told Ann I would call her if I found it. I had gone only about 15-20 feet forward when I spotted the bird through some trees flycatching from a low post. I instantly called Ann who turned out to already have me in sight, so she hurried over. I looked around for other birders to signal and then saw birders gathering off to my left. Clearly they had also spotted the bird. Finally, the kingbird was cooperative and many got to enjoy good views of it perching and sallying forth from perches on some short poles.
|Cassin's Kingbird, Floyd Bennett Field. © Joseph DiCostanzo|
|Cassin's Kingbird, Floyd Bennett Field © Joseph DiCostanzo|
Our day, however, was not done. Ann and I headed over to the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens to look for one more year bird for me. Last winter I had somehow managed to miss seeing Snow Goose, despite having seen many much rarer waterfowl. At Jamaica Bay, Ann decided to rest her knee while I walked out the West Pond trail. I went as far as the breach caused by Hurricane Sandy. The tide was in and there was some water in the currently defunct West Pond and thousands of Brant, but no Snow Geese. I headed back towards the headquarters, intending to check the East Pond when I heard calling Snow Geese approaching. Seven Snow Geese flew over coming from the direction of the East Pond - # 298! Back at the car in the parking lot, more than a hundred Snows flew over. There was also a flock of Boat-tailed Grackles perched along Cross Bay Boulevard, but these were not new for me for the year.
Three year birds in one day in late-November - one of them a new State bird!. A fabulous day! Only two to go - but Snow Goose was the last easy one. Now it really gets hard.