A Foggy Day in Bay Ridge with a GPS

Bay Ridge Route

Friday I finished my scheduled work for the day a little early so I decided to head down to Owls Head Park in Bay Ridge. The rocks along the bicycle path that starts from there are often a good place to look for Purple Sandpipers, one of my target birds for the year.

View from Owls head Park on a Foggy Friday the 13th

The park itself was virtually empty, just some pigeons and starlings. Down by the pier I spotted one Bufflehead and three Red-breasted Mergansers. A few Ring-billed Gulls and one Herring Gull were hanging out on the Veterans Memorial Pier.

Veterans Memorial Pier in Bay Ridge on a foggy January Friday

Unfortunately the bicycle path was under construction at least as far as the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, and the section by the water is fenced off. I walked about a kilometer and picked up 19 Brant, one Double-crested Cormorant, and a few more Buffleheads and Mergansers. However, the fence completely blocked any view of the rocks so even if the sandpipers were there, I wouldn’t be able to see them. Foiled again by my nemesis bird! So I split early and went home.

Walking back to the subway through the suburban neighborhood of Bay Ridge (suburban by Brooklyn standards at least) I heard a Blue Jay calling, and then, surprisingly, a familiar chuck, chuck, chuck. I scanned the trees with my binoculars for a few seconds (attracting some puzzled looks from one homeowner taking down his Christmas lights) and there it was: a Red-bellied Woodpecker, my final bird for the day.

Birding wise this wasn’t my most successful trip (a mere ten species) but I did take my GPS along. I can now report with confidence that I walked approximately 2.45 kilometers from 1:16 P.M. to 2:19. P.M. I’ve also figured out how to load the track log onto a topo map so I can figure out where I was when. It’s pretty accurate. You can clearly see where I walked out onto the pier, along the waterfront, and which street I took back to the subway. Besides pretty pictures this should enable me to report more accurate data to eBird. Cool.

The topo map doesn’t show street names. The next step is to figure out how to combine the track log with Google Maps so I can plot my routes on their map data.

2 Responses to “A Foggy Day in Bay Ridge with a GPS”

  1. Mokka mit Schlag » #341 and #342 with the BBC Says:

    […] Morgan Park is another one of Long island’s annoying “Residents Only” parks. but fortunately no one bothers to enforce these rules in the winter, so we just parked and walked in. We found the usual gulls and a couple of Mute Swans on the shore, but as soon as we reached the shoreline we could see a flock of a few dozen medium-sized birds wheeling out from the end of the jetty and then landing back in the rocks. Out came the scopes; and sure enough, it was about ten Ruddy Turnstones and approximately 20 Purple Sandpipers, my second life bird of the day. As you may also recall, I’ve been looking for Purple sandpiper for some time now without success. I had given up on them for this season. When nobody in New York found any on the Great Backyard Bird Count a month ago, I assumed they’d all headed north. However, perhaps this flock was one of the flocks from New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, or North Carolina just now making its way north. In any case, I can now confidently add this species to my life list. […]

  2. Mokka mit Schlag » #477 Lapland Longspur Says:

    […] Heading up the way they proved to be Purple Sandpipers, the closest I’ve ever seen. I had a great deal of trouble finding these a few years ago, and now here they were right in front of me. Unfortunately they […]

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