Boat-tailed Grackle Found

Today I hopped the A-train to Broad Channel to see if I could add Boat-tailed Grackle to the GBBC results for New York state; and I was successful. In fact, I found my first grackle before I’d even reached Crossbay Blvd. Eventually I counted six of these majestic (and noisy) birds:

Boat-tailed Grackle

I walked south down Crossbay Blvd to Big Egg Marsh to try for American Bittern. No luck there, but I did find three American Tree Sparrows and a Northern Mockingbird in the vacant lot just East of Shad Creek Road. Big Egg Marsh was mostly frozen and more passable than it usually is. Several fences that had been blocking access to the beach and the marsh have been taken down in the last month. Other species at the marsh included the usual gulls, Canada Goose, Brant, Mallard, American Black Duck, and a lone female Long-tailed Duck.

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I headed back north to the refuge where the West Pond had almost completely frozen over. A couple of dozen gulls were hanging out around one hole in the middle of the pond. About 130 American Coots were pressed up against the phragmites in the Northwest corner, and a couple of American Wigeons joined them. Three Mute Swans were foraging in the general vicintiy of Bench 12. A couple of American Black Ducks flew over, but that was it for the pond. I’ve never seen it so empty. At least the wind was light, so I picked up a few passerines including Song Sparrow, a possible Savannah Sparrow, several White-throated Sparrows, at least 6 House Finches, 4 Northern Cardinals, 3 Northern Mockingbirds, and two Yellow-rumped Warblers.

Only the south end of the East Pond was completely frozen, and thus it had a little more action, including a large flock of scaup and one swan that looked tantalizing un-mute-like from afar. However, they were all too far away from the blinds to make any positive IDs.

Some of the best birding was from the subway, which conveniently stopped a couple of times affording good views of the bay. The usual Snow Geese that hang out on the wrong side of the tracks have vanished, and Brant were uncommon today; but there were quite a few Canada Geese, Mallards, and American Black Ducks. Buffleheads were scattered throughout the bay. As the train rumbled over the bridge heading into Howard Beach, I spotted the final species of the day, a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers.

Of course, when I got home I discovered that Boat-tailed Grackle is a review species for the GBBC in New York so it isn’t posted immediately. That means someone else has probably already reported this, and it just isn’t showing up in the lists yet. Still I had a nice day at Jamaica Bay. Total species count 26. Total birds counted: 641.

  • Canada Goose
  • Brant
  • Mute Swan
  • American Wigeon
  • American Black Duck
  • Mallard
  • Long-tailed Duck
  • Bufflehead
  • Red-breasted Merganser
  • American Coot
  • Ring-billed Gull
  • Herring Gull
  • Great Black-backed Gull
  • Rock Pigeon
  • American Crow
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • Northern Mockingbird
  • European Starling
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler
  • American Tree Sparrow
  • Song Sparrow
  • White-throated Sparrow
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Boat-tailed Grackle
  • House Finch
  • House Sparrow

One Response to “Boat-tailed Grackle Found”

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