Friday, 16 November 2012

Snow Day

I was on my way to Delaware yesterday morning and since I was passing through Brighton, decided to spend a little time in Presquile Provincial Park looking for Snow Buntings, Black Scoters and Purple Sandpipers. A colorful list, it seems, of black, white and purple. Had I realized that 3 minutes ago, I might have given this posting a different and slightly more clever title. Of course, I could have changed it and not even told you, such is my high level of honesty.

I walked Gull Island and before spotting any of the target birds, saw and scooped the first of two Snowy Owls. Though I have seen Snowy Owls on previous occasions this year, this was a fantastic look at these lovely birds. I met a couple of birders along the way, one of which had seen Snow Buntings a little earlier, but they had flown into the high grass. I walked through the high grass trying to flush one or two, but none came out. When I returned to the beach, riot there, feeding in the sand were 4 Snow Buntings, I followed them along the beach, but they would move about 5 feet away for every 5 feet I drew closer. I got some good looks and then moved along, searching for the Purple Sandpipers and perhaps a Black Scoter or raptor of some sort.

As I was getting close to the land bridge back to the mainland, which is really a sand bar at low tide, I saw a large flock of birds. Each and every one, Snow Buntings - at this point I was hoping for Purple Sandpipers, but you can't have everything. I did the same dance of move 5 feet, and watch the flock fly or run 5 feet. They all took off at one point and were joined by another flock. There were dozens of them, a veritable blizzard of Snow Buntings. I got some okay pictures and headed back, only to be stopped along the way for a group of black duck-like birds at scoping distance in the bay. Turned out toe be Scoters. All three, Surf, White-winged and, Black.

So in one beautiful, warm, windless and sun drenched morning I was able to add two birds to my year list, 552 and 553 on a side trio on my way to east coast America. Pretty cool.

I am just outside New York, eating Breakfast, and heading to a park in the Bronx in hopes of seeing a Barnacle Goose. Then it is off to Lewes, Delaware and a pelagic tomorrow morning.

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