Well the 1st full week of January is almost done and of course it was time to get all those common winter birds (and hopefully a few others!) to get the E-Bird and NYS Region 8 Run list for Fun lists started!
On January 2, I headed down to the Coxsackie area, but first stopped at Cornell Park in New Baltimore, where I was able to pick up Common Merganser and a nice mixed flock of birds, the highlight was hearing for the first time in a long time, a fly-over flock of Common Redpolls! Driving the back roads to Coxsackie I spotted an American Kestrel (a bird in serious decline) and 2 Eastern Meadowlarks (another species in serious trouble in NY and a bird I completely missed last year).
At the Coxsackie Boat Launch I found a big flock of Gulls. They were mostly Ring-billed, Herring and Great Black-backed and even my intense scanning couldn’t find much else. Then for some reason the flock took off, but quickly resettled down, I decided to give the flock another scan in its new arrangment and was glad I did as I spotted an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull! A drive down to 4-mile point in Athens and a drive through the Coxsackie flats turned up very little. Not a year for raptors down there.
On January 5, Danika and I birded Cohoes to Vischer Ferry, again looking for Gulls. Things were very quiet with only the 3 common gulls found. A few Common Mergansers swam between Ice flows and a Bald Eagle was at Cohoes flats.
On January 6, Danika and I tried again the Coxsackie area and while we cleaned up on a lot of common birds again (especially for her), we struck out on gulls. On our second pass through the boat launch, the big flock of gulls was replaced with about 2000 Canada Geese. Although we did spot a nice male Common Goldeneye.
So far I’m at 46 species in 2011 and Danika is at 38. We have a few more targeted trips for January, with a goal of about 50 species by then.
Here is to a great 2011 Birding Year!