On the afternoon of Christmas Eve, I made my first trip to Randall's Island, having finally figured out that since I'm not working, it's no more out of my way than anywhere else.
I went to the northern end of the island. It was empty and desolate. A lone man sat on the bench of one of the baseball fields. Once in the almost three hours I was there, a woman rollerbladed past. Otherwise, just me and the birds.
I was greeted by the rattle of a Kingfisher, a female, who perched on the Bronx shore near the bridge and swooped over to the island. (And swooped back, eventually; repeat.) Gulls and pigeons commanded the roof of the New York Post printing plant across the river.
A flock of about a hundred Canada Goose, and nearby about 170 Brant, all rested on the water. The saltmarsh itself was pretty quiet--there were a couple of American Tree Sparrows and a Song Sparrow lurking in the shrubs.
Out in the broad East River, two Double-Crested Cormorants fished, and on a small rock to the north-east, four Great Cormorants rested with three of their smaller cousins. The Great Cormorants are my 175th New York County species of the year.