I had no luck with the Nelson's. At the west end of the marsh were many Swamp Sparrows, some Song Sparrows, a few Common Yellowthroats. A hundred or so yards away, at the other end, a group of Savannah Sparrows jumped in and out of the bushes onto the grass and back in.
After a couple of times back and forth along the marsh, I continued around the northeast shore. Three more Savannah Sparrows seemed to follow me around. Sometimes I flushed them, sometimes they flew past me and led me up the shore.
It was quiet. The solitude was wonderful. Almost nobody was ever in sight. two joggers, once, and a man walking a dog.
There is a small hill at the south east end of this area, past the ball fields and jest before the fire department training area. I sat on a bench at the top of the hill for a while. When I want down the hill, a Kestrel flew past me and perched on a lamppost at the top.
Just then, a couple with two dogs started up the hill, the first people I'd seen in an hour. I got my camera ready.
it was time to hunt anyway
I didn't think the Kestrel would care for them. Besides, it was time to hunt. I went back to the salt marsh.
There was still no sign of unusual sparrows. I waited a long time. As I got ready to leave, I scanned the opposite shore of the Bronx Kill, and noticed a rather small, slim gull, much smaller than the Herring and Ring-Billed Gulls nearby.
on shore, left to right: Herring, mystery gull, Ring-Billed. In the water, juvenile, probably a Herring
That was interesting. I'm not good at gulls, but I didn't think we had any small white-headed gulls. Maybe it was some kind of tern?
Not a tern surely. Smallish bill, though, and kind of a dark spot behind the eye. I paged through Peterson's. Hmm, maybe a winter-plumaged Bonaparte's? That would be a good bird--a lifer for me, in fact, though not a screaming rarity. Maybe a Laughing Gull, but it seemed much too small--Laughing Gulls are only a little smaller then Ring-Billeds.
The gull moved several times--it didn't care to stay around the bigger gulls. I don't blame it--gulls in general are assholes, though they weren't really bothering the smaller bird.
Eventually, it flew north out of sight around the eastern Bronx shore.
Time to go home. A Kingfisher came out and hunted along the Bronx Kill, and perched near the New York Post plant.
when I got home, I looked over my many photos of the gull to try to definitely ID it. I had a few of the bird in flight.
Drat. Those aren't the wings of a Bonaparte's--they have kind of a white triangle thing going on on the top of the wing, and usually some black on the trailing edge. Laughing Gull. Oh well. A fine afternoon out, anyway.