I continue to monitor this. There haven't been days anywhere near what the
first day was like. But then I don't think there have been especially
optimal flight conditions, and that seems to be reflected at other sites
along the northeast seaboard. But there are a few hawks every day. And
amazingly to me, that includes Turkey Vultures regularly passing through
northeastern Queens. I did not see that coming. Now I wish I had started
before March 31. The only other species to have been observed on every day
of coverage is Osprey. Other surprises have been 6 Bald Eagles this week,
and today a Broad-winged Hawk. That's not one that I have pegged for much of
a presence on Long Island. It's still a few days early for appreciable
numbers of Broad-wings. But now that I've gotten one, why not hold out hope
that there could be a bunch to come through here?

 

The previously mentioned copulating Killdeer are now the nesting Killdeer.
They picked out a spot about 50-60 feet from the spot I picked to watch
from. I keep my distance from them and they seem to be fine with that
distance. On an occasion when both were away, I checked the nest and saw 4
eggs. I'm kind of surprised at such an early date. Other shorebirds
appearing have been Greater Yellowlegs and Wilson's Snipe - the snipe not
only as flyovers, but landing in the wet meadow right behind the watch site.

 

Elsewhere in the neighborhood, it's April 11 and the Alley Pond Restoration
Pond still has the Redhead pair, the Ring-necked Duck, and the Red-necked
Grebe. They might be old news, but I'm still keeping tabs on the grebe in
hopes of getting it in breeding plumage. While it hasn't changed much, 7
remaining Horned Grebes on Little Neck Bay have gotten colorful. The bay
still has a Red-throated Loon or two. Oddly, one individual came into Alley
Creek and hauled out on a mud flat at low tide.

 

Steve Walter

Bayside, NY

 

From: Steve Walter [mailto:swalte...@verizon.net] 
Sent: Saturday, March 31, 2018 5:25 PM
To: nysbird...@list.cornell.edu
Subject: New Hawk Flyway Discovery

 

I think that subject line is more interesting than the usual. Well, the
flyway is not really new. I'm sure birds have been there before. And I can't
say the discovery is out of the blue. About 20 years ago, one day (an April
19, as I recall), I detected a small hawk flight (about 70 birds of various
species) along Little Neck Bay in northeastern Queens. I decided that this
year I would finally put some time into seeing if there's something viable
here. The spot I chose is a mile or so south of where I observed that time -
by Alley Pond Environmental Center, but on the north side of Northern Blvd.
Wide open skies for viewing here.  And for today, at least, the results were
intriguing and not bad.  

 

I started at 11:00. Now I wish I had started earlier. But going in, it
seemed a preposterous idea to plan a day around spring hawk watching in
Queens. And with a forecast for winds to lighten in mid-day, it didn't
profile as an ideal hawk migration day. Well anyway, 15 minutes into it, a
group of 23 Turkey Vultures came streaming by high. This already was more
TV's than I'd ever seen in one day on Long Island. A few minutes later, it
was a group of 31. This went on for about another hour, with a final tally
of 186 Turkey Vultures (don't laugh Braddock Bay and Derby Hill - that's big
stuff here). The surprising thing is that most were heading east, except for
one group of 13 that were seen going north on the west side of Little Neck
Bay). Looking at a map leads one to think that a north or northeast heading
would allow for a short water crossing before Long Island Sound widens, and
could actually provide somewhat of a concentration point toward the
mainland. This may prove true yet, particularly for other species. The
single Harrier today and a couple of Ospreys went that way. I'm not sure
where the two Kestrels went or if the Cooper's Hawk was not a local. An
adult Bald Eagle flew the wrong way over Little Neck Bay, so probably a
local (still sounds strange to say that in Queens).

 

The spot I chose is in a meadow and by Alley Creek and Little Neck Bay. So
this provided some other birds to be enjoyed while waiting for hawks.
Notable for here or late March were copulating Killdeer, Great Egret, Barn
Swallow, Palm Warbler, Eastern Meadowlark, and a number of Boat-tailed
Grackles. The most interesting bird was one that flew low past me, giving a
call I didn't recognize. When I got on it flying away, I saw large wing
patches and red emanating from the head. I suppose that could be a Eurasian
Goldfinch.

 

So not a bad start. Looking forward to tomorrow. A better wind in the
forecast, and hopefully we don't get socked in with clouds too long.

 

Steve Walter

Bayside, NY


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