I was lucky enough to have the day off today, and the weather was perfect, so it made for a great day of birding. I started the morning by taking a tour of the black dirt region, where I had 23 species. Highlights include a MERLIN on a wire seen on Onion Avenue and a LAPLAND LONGSPUR in a large flock of Horned Larks on Mission Land Road in Pine Island.
I also made quick stops at Glenmere Lake and Warwick Lake – I added 5 species to my list, and I had a pair of adult Bald Eagles at both locations. My final stop was the Newburgh Waterfront; I stopped first at the Newburgh-Beacon Ferry parking; Fish Crows were calling from the trees as I sorted through the gulls there but found only Ring-billed, Herring, and Great Black-backed Gulls present. From there I went to the parking lot of the old Torches. Immediately, as I got out of the car, I saw a first winter ICELAND GULL on the edge of the parking lot among the other gulls and Rock Pigeons. I was able to get much better photos than I did earlier in the week, but I failed to get any flight photos. Once the gulls picked up, it was very chaotic and difficult to follow where the the Iceland Gull went. I eventually relocated the bird on a piling in the water, but just as I located it, all the gulls picked up again. Ken McDermott joined me shortly after that, but when I decided to head home, we still had not relocated the bird. I added an additional 5 species to my list for the day, giving me a total of 33 species for the day.