Went to Great Kills Park by bike. No Reef-heron, which didn’t surprise me; not much in the way of other wading birds or migrating shorebirds, either, which did. Meanwhile, the folks at Jamaica Bay had over a hundred species going. Still, a day with a life list bird (and a slightly challenging one, at that) cannot go down on the books as purely disappointing.

Since I’ve never been birding on Staten Island before, this list also represents my borough list.

House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Rock Dove Columba livia
Greater Black-backed Gull Larus marinus
Double-crested Cormorant Phalocrocorax auritus
Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis
European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
Western Sandpiper Calidris mauri *LL
Hairy Woodpecker Picoides villosus
Common Tern Sterna hirundo
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos
Green Heron Butorides striatus
Grey Catbird Dumetella carolinensis
Buteo sp.
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis
Canada Goose Branta canadensis

I was lucky in that my Western Sandpiper did me two big favors. First, it was feeding by itself in a small muddy rain pool in the trail, allowing me long, relatively close and unobstructed looks without any other peeps running in and out to confuse matters. Secondly, it was still in breeding plumage, very rusty in color, making it easier to separate from the Semipalmated.

Also saw a mystery white goose flying with two Canadas; it gave a call like a Canada being strangled. It was too big to be Snow Goose (plus, no black on wings) but, I think, a bit too small to be a swan (and making the wrong noise.) I assume it was some kind of domestic goose, feral or hybrid.