Saturday, October 8, 2011

Jones Beach Migrants

This morning I arrived at the West End of Jones Beach just after sunrise anxious to shoot some birds. Due to weather and other factors beyond my control I have been able to do little shooting - and the birds that have been around haven't been terribly exciting. The winds today are not what drives good birds through migration but I figured there would be something around. I cruised around the West End for a few minutes and spotted this Merlin in a tree (one of only 3 I saw this morning).

I then met up with Richard Ettlinger (author of the visually stunning book  On Feathered Wings: Birds in Flight)
  and we headed into the Dunes to try and get some raptors.  The birds we were after were few and far between, but while we waited we were treated to several Osprey returning from the inlet with Fish in their talons, along with plenty of Northern Flickers.

Around 9 AM a Cooper's Hawk that had snuck up on us exploded out of the shrubs and gave us beautiful views and photographic opportunities.  I took my success as a cue to leave and headed to the Coast Guard Station in an effort to find some smaller birds - maybe even get a new species, and as luck would have it that's exactly what happened.

I didn't have to look long before spotting this Magnolia Warbler in beautiful fall plumage (I had originally thought Nashville Warbler until looking it up in the book - this bird certainly looks different than when it's in breeding plumage).

A couple other birds were around as seen below (Golden Crowned Kinglet, Song Sparrow, Palm Warbler, Northern Mockingbird, Juvenile Osprey) and I soon packed it in and headed home.  I'll be there tomorrow though so let's all pray for Northwest winds.

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