Trip Reports
Point Lookout and Jones Beach — February 19, 2017

Many thanks to Steve Schellenger of Queens County Bird Club for leading this great trip! Steve has been a longtime supporter of our club and we deeply appreciate his generosity and commitment to young birders. Thanks, Steve, for a really fun day with lots of great birds!

It turned out to be a beautiful, sunny day for birding at Jones Beach State Park. Led by Steve Schellenger of the Queens County Bird Club, sixteen young birders and their parents eagerly gathered at the East end of Lido Blvd. Hundreds of Brant could be seen sitting on the water and flying by. We quickly spotted a lone Razorbill, which was a lifer for many. As we started to walk along the beach, Tree Swallows swooped by overhead. Reaching the end of the shore, we had fantastic views of two Harlequin Ducks, Common Eider, and a few more Brant. Northern Gannets were also seen far off in the distance.

We then walked down the road to another part of the beach, where the wind was a bit stronger. A couple Long-tailed Ducks and a friendly seal (“whiskered buoy” as Steve called it) were diving right near the jetty. Hunkered down on the tip of the jetty was a flock of peeps, comprised of Dunlin, Sanderlings, and Ruddy Turnstones. We were also able to observe some Harlequin Ducks with even better views, as they bobbed in the rough surf. Next, we carpooled to the Coast Guard Station. There, we scoped out some Red-Breasted Mergansers, Bufflehead, and Common Loons from the dock. The group also spotted a small flock of sparrows in the adjacent field.

Razorbill, photo by Teresa Loomis
Razorbill - photo by Teresa Loomis

Earlier in the day, we had heard of a recent Snowy Owl sighting. The group excitedly decided to try to hunt this winter visitor down. Walking on a path that led through the sandy dunes, we kept our eyes peeled for the white bird of prey. At one point, the path led us to a small view of the water. Here, we all gathered to scan for any birds. Almost immediately, someone spotted another Razorbill. Birders scrambled onto the rocks to catch a sight of the bird, which was a little farther down the shore. Suddenly, the Razorbill popped up from under the water, a mere ten feet away from us! Although it only stayed there for about a minute, it was an experience that I will remember forever.

After the amazing Razorbill encounter, we continued the hunt for the Snowy Owl. Although we searched the median strip and West parking lot, the owl was nowhere to be found. All in all, it was a fantastic day for birding and having fun with friends.

                                                                              — Hannah Mirando, Age 16

      View photo gallery

          List of Birds Seen on this Trip  by Josh Cantor

Canada Goose
American Black Duck
Greater Scaup
Common Eider
Harlequin Duck
Long-tailed Duck
Red-breasted Merganser
Red-throated Loon
Common Loon
Horned Grebe
Northern Gannet
Great Cormorant

Northern Harrier
Black-bellied Plover
Ruddy Turnstone
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Northern Flicker
Peregrine Falcon
American Crow

Tree Swallow
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Snow Bunting
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Song Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Boat-tailed Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird

        Species Total: 44