What a great weekend of birding! We headed out to the Black Dirt region three nights in a row and were handsomely rewarded with amazing winter birds. The first night we weren't able to find the reported snowy owl, but we had fantastic views of both phases of Rough-legged Hawks, males, females and Immature Harriers and several large flocks of Horned Larks. We went over to the Wallkill National Wildlife Refuge at dusk and counted a total of 9 Short-eared owls and several more N. Harriers, including 2 Grey Ghosts. The second night we had 4 friends with us and spotted the Snowy Owl immediately, he was in the first field where we drove in. Our friends enjoyed the sighting and then left. Hubby and I stayed and watched the glorious sunset. The bird flew towards the road we had to leave on and we were able to see him up close. Amazingly beautiful. Tonight we took my hubby's aunt and she got a great look at the bird for a long period of time. We then took her to Oil City Road and she saw at least a dozen Short-eared Owls and multiple Harriers. While we watched the owl flocks of thousands of Red-winged Blackbirds, Grackles, and most likely Rusty blackbirds flew over us, heading N to roost for the night. This is considered to be very early for that many to be seen. We expect large flocks of Icterids at the end of February.
I returned the gift hubby gave me for my birthday and Xmas and got a refund. I had no idea what I was going to get as a replacement gift as there is nothing I need or want right now. This morning CRESLI posted on FB a great pelagic trip leaving out of Montauk Point traveling to Hydrographer Canyon. It leaves on a Friday night and returns on Sunday. Guess what I got as my gift? The trip! I am so excited right now I can't stand it! The target species is the Sperm Whale!
• Cetaceans: Humpback, Fin, Minke, Right; Sei, and Pilot whales; Common, Bottlenose, Atlantic White Sided and Risso’s Dolphins; Leatherback, Green and Loggerhead Turtles; Basking, Great White, and Blue Sharks; and other marine life.
• Birds: Cory’s, Greater, Sooty, Manx, and Audubon’s Shearwaters; Wilson’s, Leach’s and White-faced Storm-Petrels; Northern Fulmar; Northern Gannet; Pomarine, and Parasitic Jaegers; South Polar Skua; Dovekies, and other Alcids
On the backyard feeder watch this guy has been very close to the house the last couple of days and calling. He is sitting on our canopy frame. The Rusty Blackbirds continue under the feeders.