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DVOC Field Trip Report
by Chris Walters

January 19,20,21, 2008
Montauk, NY

This is the Montauk Field Trip Report for January 19-21, 2008, with highlights of TOWNSEND’S SOLITAIRE, KING EIDER, BLACK-HEADED GULL, RAZORBILLS, REDPOLLS, CACKLING GOOSE, RED-NECKED GREBE, EURASIAN WIGEON, SNOWY EGRET, ICELAND GULL, AMERICAN BITTERN, PHOEBE, PALM WARBLER, SNOW BUNTINGS, and HARLEQUIN DUCKS.

Our 13 DVOC members encountered changing weather conditions as a cold front switched Saturday’s benign conditions to icy morning blasts on Sunday followed by cold but sunny conditions. Despite the disappearance of two target goose species due to the front’s passage, the group’s species total (103) was the second highest ever for a DVOC trip to Long Island. In fact, five species appeared that had not been seen on any of our prior 19 Montauk trips. This success is explained by the high caliber of the participants – newcomers Tom Bailey, Keith Russell and Al Driscoll ID’d the birds, after the leaders and regulars (Erica Brendel, Chris Walters, Bob Krinsky, and Frank Windfelder) located them. Any debates over species ID were then “settled” by the remaining participants – Joann Raine, Win Shafer, Bob Horton, Anna & Dennis Bert, and Ann Bacon. Ten of our 13 participants stayed in a private home on Shelter Island while three rented space in a nearby hotel. The trip’s route was:

FIRST DAY: Prospect Park (Brooklyn), Massapequa Preserve, Pt. Lookout and Jones Beach Inlet, Jones Beach, and Oak Beach.

SECOND DAY: Short’s Pond, Deep Hollow Ranch (3 visits), Montauk Point, Gin Beach, Montauk’s East Lake Drive, and Ditch Plains.

THIRD DAY: Hook Pond, Dune Road (Mecox), Shinnecock Inlet, Dune Road (Shinnecock), Grumman property, Calverton, Ransome Beach, and Bayville.

Common Loon - many on bays & inlets
Red-throated Loon - a few
Horned Grebe - Jones Beach inlet
Red-necked Grebe - one at Pt. Lookout
No. Gannet - in Long Island Sound and at Montauk Point
Great Cormorant - Eastern Long Island
Snowy Egret - very rare in winter; one at Water Mill
Great Blue Heron - several each day
Black - c’n Night Heron - Water Mill
Am. Bittern - Dune Road, Shinnecock
Mute Swan - seen each day
Tundra Swan - two at Hook Pond
Snow Goose - over 20 at Short’s Pond
Canada Goose - abundant
Cackling Goose - one at Short’s Pond
Brant - coasts of Western Long Island
Mallard - ubiquitous
Black Duck - many near protected mudflats
Northern Pintail - very small numbers
Gadwall - few at Massapequa Lake
American Wigeon - various spots
Eurasian Wigeon - drake at Massapequa Lake
Shoveler - a few at Short’s Pond & Massapequa
Green-winged Teal - 25 at Massapequa Lake
Canvasback - a couple at Massapequa Lake
Ring-necked Duck - one at Massapequa Lake
Lesser Scaup - many at Massapequa Lake
Greater Scaup - a few at Massapequa Lake
Common Eider - hundreds at Montauk Point
King Eider - a half dozen at Ditch Plains & Montauk Point
Harlequin Duck - a few at Pt. Lookout and Ditch Plains
Long-tailed Duck - all oceanside spots
White-winged Scoter - Montauk Point
Surf Scoter - thousands at Montauk Point
Black Scoter - thousands at Montauk Point
Common Goldeneye - groups at Bayville
Bufflehead - various seaside spots
Hooded Merganser - a few on ponds
Red-breasted Merganser - at all saltwater spots
Ruddy Duck - many at Massapequa Lake
Sharp-shinned Hawk - two on Eastern Long Island
Cooper’s Hawk - several
Red-tailed Hawk - the default raptor; common
Harrier - several on coastal dunes
Peregrine - one at Shinnecock
Merlin - two seen
Coot - fairly common
Killdeer - four at Deep Hollow Ranch near Montauk Point
Dunlin - many on mudflats
Ruddy Turnstone - Point Lookout jetty
Purple Sandpiper - Montauk jetties
Wilson’s Snipe - Theodore Roosevelt County Park at Montauk
Long-billed Dowitcher - nine @ Massapequa Reservoir
Black-headed Gull - immature at Water Mill
Ring-billed Gull - common away from the ocean
Herring Gull - abundant on coastal locations
Iceland Gull - first cycle bird at Point Lookout jetty
Great Black - backed Gull - common in coastal areas
Razorbill - several seen well on Montauk Point
Rock Pigeon - extirpation is not close at hand!
Mourning Dove - at many spots
Eastern Screech Owl - rufous - phase bird well - studied on Shelter Island
Belted Kingfisher - at scattered locations
Red-bellied Woodpecker - two at Prospect Park
Downy Woodpecker - common
Hairy Woodpecker - one at Prospect Park
Flicker - 5 - 6 only
Phoebe - Calverton fence
Blue Jay - several each day
American Crow - fair numbers
Horned Lark - Napeague Meadow Road
Tree Swallow - three at Point Lookout
Black-capped Chickadee - scattered spots
Tufted Titmouse - one on Shelter Island
White-breasted Nuthatch - several
Red-breasted Nuthatch - several in coastal pines
Carolina Wren - common
Winter Wren - one at Prospect Park
Golden - crowned Kinglet - several @ Short Pond
Bluebird - several @ Deep Hollow Ranch
Robin - various spots
Catbird - two at Massapequa Reservoir
Mockingbird - scattered spots
Cedar Waxwing - Short’s Pond
Starling - throughout
Yellow - rumped Warbler - coastal bayberries
Palm Warbler - one on Dune Road, Shinnecock
Cardinal - Various spots
Tree Sparrow - common on East Lake Drive, Montauk
Song Sparrow - various spots
Savannah Sparrow - three near Dune Rd., Shinnecock
White-throated Sparrow - various spots
Dark-eyed Junco - most along East Lake Drive, Montauk
House Sparrow - hedgerows
House Finch - various spots
Snow Bunting - flocks at all coastal spots
Eastern Meadowlark - Grumman property
Boat-tailed Grackle - flock of 25 along Dune Road, Shinnecock
Redpoll - flocks at Gin Beach and Dune Road, Shinnecock