Monday, June 1, 2009


Almost the whole wading bird clan was visible out at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge today: tricolored heron, little blue heron, great blue heron, great egret, snowy egret, black-crowned night-heron, yellow-crowned night-heron, and glossy ibis. The little blue, seen passing overhead, and the yellow-crowned, seen overhead and rather close up on the West Pond, were first of the year sightings. Missing (to my eyes) were green heron, cattle egret, and the ever-elusive bitterns. Great and snowy egrets were everywhere; you can distinguish these dapper birds by their bills and feet when you can’t readily compare their sizes (the great is obviously larger), for the great has black feet and yellow bill and the snowy has black bill and yellow feet. With the addition of boat-tailed grackle and semipalmated sandpiper, my year count is now 152 species.

Youngsters everywhere. Many stages of Canada goslings, including a very fresh and butter yellow little sprite in the middle of the Terrapin Trail, with the parents hissing at me mightily. It looked like there were three osprey chicks in the southern nest. The tree swallows were omnipresent, including in a nest box with the label “house wren.” Just desserts, however, another nest box on the western edge had some wrens.

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