Manx Shearwater, Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow, Virgina Rail and more - 2-3 May 2010

The big influx seems to been on Friday night with birds moving out (or dispersing locally) on Saturday night. I get the sense that commoner nesting species like House Wren, Great Crested Flycatcher and Baltimore Oriole are now very widespread, although more individuals are likely to come in over the next few days. Orchard Oriole seems especially conspicuous, perhaps reflecting a steady increase in this species across the whole of Long Island. Elsewhere there has been a nice sprinkling of 'spring overshoots' with a Mississippi Kite near Ithaca, a Painted Bunting was nicely photographed in central Long Island, a number of Prothonotary Warblers, and one or two Summer Tanagers. A migrant Red-headed Woodpecker was on Jones Beach as were multiple Gull-billed Terns. Also an Upland Sandpiper made a (re)appearance in Brooklyn. Has anyone been checking the grasslands at Gabreski Airport for this increasingly rare grasspiper?

Here are some additional reports.

** 29/30 April 2010 **

Roger Grunwald noted a HERMIT THRUSH near the junction of Old Stone Highway and Louse Point Road in Springs.

** 1 May 2010 **

Jim Ash reports that the flooded field behind the SoFo Museum in Bridgehampton hosted a GLOSSY IBIS, a LITTLE BLUE HERON, two PECTORAL SANDPIPERS, two Lesser Yellowlegs, three Greater Yellowlegs, two WILSON'S SNIPE, one Killdeer, three pairs of Wood Ducks, six BLUE-WINGED TEAL. An Orchard Oriole was in the parking lot. The flooding may be a curse but has created some great freshwater habitat.

** 2 May 2010 **

Sunday's SW winds brought cold air in off the ocean and it became increasingly foggy as the day went on. Visible landbird migrations seemed significantly reduced compared to Saturday but there was evidently some settling in of local breeders. For example, Wood Thrush could be heard singing in Camp Hero and both Baltimore Oriole and Great Crested Flycatcher were making themselves heard in Springs. During a short seawatch from Montauk Point, Angus Wilson noted the first MANX SHEARWATER of the year and picked up 3 WHIMBREL that emerged from the fog bank over Block Island Sound before heading due NNW towards Connecticut. Several hundred _sterna_ terns were following a similar track to and from some feeding spot SE of the Point but the visibility was too poor to reliably differentiate Common from Roseate. Judging from the vector, these are likely to be from the large colony on Great Gull Island. Small numbers of all three scoter and Common Eider remain at the Point and both Common and Red-throated Loons were very numerous. The 3 HARLEQUIN DUCKS from Saturday were still on the rocks in Turtle Cove. Two adult WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS were in the parking lot next to the old toilet block and a BOBWHITE fluttered across the road in front of the lighthouse entrance gate. A MERLIN was hunting over center of Montauk Village. In the woods at Camp Hero there were several Blue-headed Vireos singing but no sign of the Blue Grosbeak from Saturday. A pair of BLUE-WINGED TEAL were on the pond at Rita's Farm.

At Napeague, Angus Wilson noted an immature BALD EAGLE over the Walking Dunes and it was joined by 6 Turkey Vultures that seemed to be working their way west. The vultures seem to balk at crossing the few yards of water at the top of the harbor and chose the southern route instead. A short while earlier 3 additional TURKEY VULTURES were over Oyster Pond. During a long hike up the east side of Napeague out to Goff Point Angus flushed a NELSON'S SHARP-TAILED SPARROW. The bird wasn't very cooperative but immediately struck him as a rich orange-colored Ammodramus sparrow. Eventually the sparrow paused in the open long enough to see the solid orange wash across the upper breast and throat, with only faint light brown streaking. This was actually the ONLY sparrow encountered, so evidently the Grasshopper Sparrows have not arrived yet. The small pool just before Goff Point (Skunk Hole?) has been good for Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrows in the spring but was birdless on Sunday. Note the mosquitoes were viscous, perhaps not surprising with so much standing water.

Hugh McGuinness heard a calling VIRGINIA RAIL at the south end of Long Pond in Sag Harbor, as well as two new warblers: NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH and NASHVILLE WARBLER. Like me, he considered Sunday to be much less birdy than might be expected after a night with southwest winds.

In Georgica, Jane Ross found at least 30 PURPLE MARTINS in the colony at the end of West End Road. It is always pleasing to hear of colonies being reoccupied. Have the birds returned to the small colony on the edge of Merrill Lake Preserve in Accabonac? Jane also found 6 BLUE-WINGED TEAL in Georgica Cove and along with a BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON and several species of shorebird.

In Springs Park (just off Three Mile Harbor Road in The Springs) Karen Rubinstein and Barbara Rubinstein confirmed that two EASTERN BLUEBIRD pairs are already sitting on eggs. An Orchard Oriole also seems to be on territory in the park. FISH CROWS have expanded significantly in the Clearwater Beach sections of Springs, they were uncommon in previous summers but currently seem quite ubiquitous even visiting the Rubinstein's feeders. A few shorebirds continue in Accabonac Harbor; Karen and Barb counted 18 Ruddy Turnstone, 1 Dunlin, 4 Black-bellied Pover on the gravel/sand flat off Gerard Drive on Sunday.

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