Friday, January 11, 2008


Went out today to look for Virginia Rail and Long Billed Dowitcher at Massapequa Lake.  The weather was inclement, with a fair amount of fog and cold rain.  I found the Dowitcher right away, but unfortunately I did it by flushing them, so I only got flying views of the birds.  They did call, though, and the call is one of the best ways to distinguish Long and Short billed Dowitcher, so it was a good ID (along with the fact that these birds have been regulars at the lake).  I'm sure I'll get some photos at some point in the year.  The Rail was a lot more difficult, and for the second time I played Rail calls and didn't see the bird.  Not sure what I'm doing wrong (if anything), but I plan to try it again until I see it.  I did see a few new birds for the year, including this Winter Wren.  I spotted it in the brush and tried to get a photo, but it was being skulky (as they often are), so I played part of a call to see if he would come up.  I immediately regretted it when the bird not only came up, but began to hop around me from perch to perch, scolding and agitated.  I beat a retreat and felt poorly about interrupting the birds routine, and thoroughly chastised for it.  

Next I went out to Point Lookout for the Red Necked Grebe that was seen the day before. 
The fog was limiting, and visibility was only about 100 feet, so the bird may very well have been there and just out of sight.  I did find a group of Purple Sandpiper working in the same spot I'd seen Ruddy Turnstone the day before, though.   I find that regardless of the conditions, if you go out and work and area something always seems to turn up!

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