#478 Harlequin Duck

I don’t have a big story to go with this one. Although I whiffed on Harlequin Duck repeatedly at Point Lookout, and even broke my scope trying to find it there over the Thanksgiving break, once I got to Barnegat it was easy. Me and four other folks from the New York City Audubon Camera Club left Manhattan about 6:30 AM and arrived at Barnegat at 9:00 AM. We walked out to the end of the jetty, and there they were:

Oh and some Purple Sandpipers too:

And some Ruddy Turnstones:

And some Long-tailed Ducks:

And Dunlin:

And Black-bellied Plovers:

In fact, there were more of some of these species than I’ve seen in my life, and within easy shooting range. Many of these birds are often seen far away as dots in the scope, if at all. At Barnegat they were naked eye birds. I should have gone there sooner. I did sign up for one previous trip with the Brooklyn Bird Club last year, but it was canceled due to rain. Better late than never.

Total species count for the day was about 30:

  1. Brant
  2. Harlequin Duck
  3. Surf Scoter
  4. Long-tailed Duck
  5. Mallard
  6. American Black Duck
  7. Hooded Merganser
  8. Red-breasted Merganser
  9. Common Loon
  10. Great Cormorant
  11. Black-bellied Plover
  12. Ruddy Turnstone
  13. Sanderling
  14. Purple Sandpiper
  15. Dunlin
  16. Northern Mockingbird
  17. Ring-billed Gull
  18. Herring Gull
  19. Great Black-backed Gull
  20. Rock Pigeon
  21. Mourning Dove
  22. American Crow
  23. American Robin
  24. European Starling
  25. Cedar Waxwing
  26. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  27. Savannah Sparrow (Ipswich)
  28. House Sparrow
  29. European Starling
  30. Belted Kingfisher (at the truck stop on I-95)

Although any number of vagrants and accidentals could still show up, there are only a few regular species in New York City still left for my life list. Common Nighthawk is a summer resident. To find it, I need to spend more time in the parks around dusk in the summer. Mourning Warbler comes through every year on migration. It just hides really well. Nelson’s Sharp-tailed Sparrow is possible at Marine Park and other locations along the coast. There are also a few species in the city that I only have from elsewhere. American Bittern, for instance, was relatively easy to find at Upper Newport Bay near where I lived in Irvine; but although it breeds in Jamaica Bay I’ve never seen it in New York.

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