Good Birding in Westchester and Rockland Counties, 2/28/15

*Click on photos to enlarge*

~Another one of my favorites! Long-tailed Duck at Piermont Pier Rockland County NY, 2/28/15.~
~Another one of my favorites! Long-tailed Duck at Piermont Pier Rockland County NY, 2/28/15.~

One of the best things that happened while we were there, however, was running into a couple of birders that had recently been to Piermont Pier. Neither Karen nor I had ever been there, so we were intrigued. They showed us good photos on their cameras of Long-tailed Ducks and mentioned seeing Canvasback, Common Goldeneye, and Ruddy Ducks.

After stopping for a sandwich for lunch, we headed out to find Piermont Pier, which is a great location. The pier, which stretches about a mile into the Hudson River, was built in the 19th century to accommodate river traffic and used during World War II as an embarkation point for troops heading to Europe. It’s a nice walk to get to the end of the pier, where we got great looks at a single Long-tailed Duck as well as many Canvasback and Common Goldeneye. We did not locate any Ruddy Ducks but we did see three Bald Eagles riding the ice floes on the far side of the Hudson River, and with the help of a local birder named Drew, we were able to see a female Peregrine Falcon in its nesting box on the Tappan Zee Bridge. We also added 5 species to our list for the day, bringing our total to 41.

What a super day of birding! I would recommend either of these locations to anyone who is suffering from cabin fever and would like to see some good birds.

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~Piermont Pier provided very good looks at Canvasback, 2/28/15.~
~I thought these female Canvasbacks were just beautiful, I love the color of their head! Piermont Pier, 2/28/15.~
~I thought these female Canvasbacks were just beautiful, I love the color of their head! Piermont Pier, 2/28/15.~
~I haven't posted a sparrow photo in ages. This White-throated Sparrow was at the feeders next to the Edith G. Read Wildlife Sanctuary visitor center, 2/28/15.~
~I haven’t posted a sparrow photo in ages. This White-throated Sparrow was at the feeders next to the Edith G. Read Wildlife Sanctuary visitor center, 2/28/15.~
I didn't realize at the time that there was a thin layer of something oily where this drake American was hanging out. Edith G Read Wildlife Sanctuary, 2/28/15.~
To me this photo looks altered – I didn’t realize at the time that there was a thin layer of something oily where this drake American was hanging out. Edith G Read Wildlife Sanctuary, 2/28/15.~

14 thoughts on “Good Birding in Westchester and Rockland Counties, 2/28/15”

  1. Beautiful, Matt

    The sparrow looks like it was “posing” for you.
    What time were you there Matt? The lighting looks perfect for good shots.

    Wilma

  2. Perfect day of birding at two fantastic spots. Loved the Wigeon and had so much fun watching the Buffleheads putting on quite a show. Finally added a Purple Sandpiper (3!) to my Life List. The great looks of the Long Tailed Duck capped off a terrific trip.

  3. Very nice, Matt! One of the best shots of “oldsquaw” that I’ve seen in quite some time. And it’s cool the way the colors of the oily slick and the tones of the water perfectly mimic the colors in the duck; even better that no manipulation was required.

    1. Thanks Marianne, I was pretty excited to have the LTDU so close to the pier. I wasn’t sure what to think about the oily slick wigeon photo… Matt

    1. Chris,

      According to the Stokes Guide to Bird Behavior Vol. III, Peregrine Falcons should be nest building at the end of February, with breeding beginning in early March. The Hudson River was frozen all the way to the end of Piermont Pier, where there was a relatively large expanse of open water. At Rye, the LI Sound had much less ice than last weekend; it was mostly open water.

    1. Sorry Lisa, I just saw this now! I like the LTDU image too, I was happy to get such a close up look at one of my favorites!

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