Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Red-necked Grebe

This adult Red-necked Grebe was on Westchester Lagoon in Anchorage, and not terribly phased by people.  The trickier part of it was getting a decent approach while the sun was actually out, since sunshine was somewhat at a premium in the last few days of my AK trip while I was in Anchorage.  But for about a minute everything came together.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Least Sandpiper

After a little hiatus for the summer, which featured trips to the FL Keys and more adventurously to Alaska, time to resume with some season-relevant birds.  This one's a Least Sandpiper shot at Jamaica Bay back in early fall 2008, basically at Least Sandpiper eye level.  It's a juvenile so in very fresh plumage - the adults are still in worn alternate/breeding plumage at that date - with some rather nice warm colors from a very early start to my day.  Least Sandpipers favor feeding in more grassy environments than Semipalmated Sandpipers so they're often foraging amongst the emergent mud grasses that grow quickly on the exposed mud at that time of the year.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Leucistic White-throated Sparrow

White-throated Sparrows (Zonotrichia albicollis) are anything but exotic in New York City, with large numbers overwintering in a typical year and still quite a few in the exceptionally mild winter of 2011/2012. This individual, however manages to be quite a striking example of leucism with most of the feathers on the head turned white. The yellow lores are made even more striking, and the residual crown stripes are especially dark, suggesting that these things are partially masked by the brown and gray coloration that usually manifests on the head.

This bird was seen on the morning of April 15th in Central Park, spotted by Morgan Tingley, but undoubtedly the same individual that I saw briefly the previous morning in the same general area. Hard to miss, this bird, with such a white head.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


My usual view of a Razorbill is moving in a small flock at high speed about a mile out in the Atlantic. Even on a Pelagic (e.g. a March 2011 pelagic off NJ) I saw lots of Razorbills, all of which were flying away from the boat from some distance out. So this particular bird was quite literally amazing. It was feeding parallel to the rocks on the south side of Manasquan Inlet (Point Pleasant), sometimes surfacing right below me. I was on the rock wall along the south side, and I just basically watched it work its way back and forth along the inlet. It could not care less about me. Which, despite some pretty poor lighting, is how I came up with basically full-frame Razorbill shots. While on dry land.

Judging from head and bill coloration this appears to be a first year bird, which may or may not be correlated with tameness.