Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Randall's Island again

I returned to Randall's Island today, intending to see a bit more of it this time. Previously, I had only visited the north shore saltmarsh area and the northeast shoreline.

I started with the shoreline, heading for the hill next to the Fire Department training center (across the river from the power station). There had been reports of Horned Larks there as recently as a week or so ago. As I approached, I spotted a Kestrel perched on a traffic sign ("No Standing"). I got some photos before it flew off.

Farther along, a crow sat on a lamppost, giving a nasal "ha! ha! ha! ha!" call. Two Great Cormorants flew downriver, heading south with the tide going out.

The usual large collection of Canada Geese and Brant were in the northern channel, along with a collection of ducks and gulls. No sign of the Snowy Owl on any of the baseball fields, alas.

I walked down Central Road to Icahn Stadium. I have to say I'm not too impressed with the path signage; I couldn't figure out how to get to the freshwater marsh area. I know there's a path... Anyway, I headed down the west shore to the Little Hell Gate Inlet, with was choked with more geese and brant.

I met another birder near the Ward's Island Bridge, and we spotted some Red-Breasted Mergansers, first of the year for me. Quite lovely birds.

We covered the south shore--more Double-Crested Cormorants, and a Mockingbird--and I returned to the Ward's Island Bridge and walked home along the East River esplanade. A group of seven Ruddy Ducks slept around 99th Street, and a single Coot dabbled and dove near the Marine Transfer Station site.

At the north end of Carl Shurz park, a woman fed the seagulls. Who the hell feeds seagulls?

I think the walk across the Ward's Island footbridge (the 103rd Street bridge) and up the island is a good alternative to the rather unpleasant M35 bus, at least if you're up for walking a couple or three miles.

The Great Cormorants and the Red-Breasted Mergansers give me 55 species in New York County this year.

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