Sandy Hook 11/10/13

It was really great to see the all the Brant at Sandy Hook, 11/10/13.
It was really great to see (and hear!) the all the Brant at Sandy Hook, 11/10/13.

Sunday morning I joined Judy Cinquina, Tom Millard, Denise Farrell, B.A. McGrath, and Gene Tappan on a birding trip to Sandy Hook NJ, which is part of the Gateway National Recreation AreaAll the folks I went with are experienced birders, and most are also official counters out at Mt. Peter Hawk Watch. It was really great to be able to spend the day birding with this group; the company was excellent and I also saw it as a good opportunity for me to learn. I tried to observe and listen to the other birders in the group as much as the birds in a effort to see how others go about their birding.

Hermit Thrush at Sandy Hook, 11/10/13.
Hermit Thrush at Sandy Hook, 11/10/13.

The wind was blowing pretty good when we arrived and it got stronger as the day passed. This seemed to keep a lot of the birds down, so it was not as active as we had hoped. I counted a total of 37 species for the day, but I may have missed a few. We did well with raptors, seeing plenty of Turkey Vultures, eight Black Vultures, many Sharp-shinned Hawks, maybe a half dozen Red-tailed Hawks, and at least a couple Cooper’s Hawks.

Sharpies were zipping around all day. I managed to get a shot of this one as it passed right over the group.
Sharpies were zipping around all day. I managed to get a shot of this one as it passed right over the group.

The highlight of the trip for me was looking for birds out in the ocean, with the New York City skyline off in the distance to our left. As Sanderlings shot back and forth at the water’s edge, we had many birds in the distance: Black Scoters, White-winged Scoters, Surf Scoters, Common Loons, Red-throated Loons, Royal Terns, and Northern Gannets. I particularly love watching the few gannets that came in a bit closer, they are a fantastic bird to watch in flight.

Sandy Hook is a bit of a trip from Goshen NY (over 2 hours), but well worth it. I certainly plan on getting back there again, hopefully on a day with better conditions.

The view of NYC from Sandy Hook. Not a bad way to do some birding!
The view of NYC from Sandy Hook. Not a bad way to do some birding!
Birding at Sandy Hook,
11//10/13 – Birding at Sandy Hook with (from left to right): B.A. McGrath, Tom Millard, Denise Farrell, Gene Tappan, and Judy Cinquina.
Eastern Phoebe in a pretty setting at Sandy Hook, 11/10/13.
Eastern Phoebe at Sandy Hook, 11/10/13.

 

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