We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
A couple of birder friends and I took an early morning trip down to the Jamaica Bay Refuge in Queens, NYC, for some early warbler-watching last Saturday.
Since we had already had a wave of warblers passing through further north, it seemed like a good time to get a head start on the May warbler-watching before all the leaves came out. Wrong. Not a single one. As with hunting or fishing, it is so often "You shoulda been here yesterday."
Our birds have not bought into the global warming hysteria. The Spring migrants were absent, and the winter birds had left already. I did not even see the usual flock of breeding Ruddy Ducks.
The Jamaica Bay Refuge is a unique oasis. Behind you is JFK with planes constantly overhead, out to the ocean side is Far Rockaway, and in front is Brooklyn with Manhattan rising in the distance. It's a special green and watery stopping-place for migrants on the Atlantic Flyway, but the refuge hosts plenty of breeding birds too. Mixed habitat: beaches, woods, vast bayberry fields, salt- and fresh-water marshes.
Plenty of Tree Swallows. Here's my pal walking up to one of them while fumbling with his fancy camera, Far Rockaway in the distance:
More photos etc below the fold -
One of the shallow fresh-water ponds. Couple of Brant walking around. A Clapper Rail in the reed edges, but we didn't see him. Saw a few nesting Black Ducks and Northern Shovelers, nesting Osprey, and of course our readers' favorite, Canada Goose, nesting everywhere.
Good woodsy marsh-edge habitat for all sorts of warblers. Later, I guess.
A trail out towards the salt marsh -
Brambly woods -
Across Jamaica Bay, first a Brooklyn landfill with high-rise housing seemingly on it, and Manhattan in the far distance.