Sunday, December 13, 2009
Nassau County Grassland Excursion
Today Stella and I took a tour of some of the last remaining native grassland habitats in Nassau County. These small parcels are invaluable to the survival of such species as Eastern Bluebird, Field Sparrow, and American Kestrel. Through the continued preservation of these sites species such as these can be prevented from disappearing from Long Island all together.
Our first stop was a 51 acre parcel in Jericho. Very few people had birded here before, and those who had had turned up such rarities as Northern Shrike and American Bittern. Our decision to come here was a good one, as we were greeted by a large flock of sparrows, numbering in the 40's. In it were at least four Fox Sparrows, a desirable species in this area. Last year that was the total for the entire Christmas Bird Count! In the open field we did not find anything else, so we kept moving. By a small pond we found a small flock of chickadees which contained both Kinglets and some titmice. Here we also found a flock of sparrows including another four Fox Sparrows. That gave us eight for one location! Down the trail a little further was a Gray Catbird. After waling to the opposite side we found another large grassland area, this dominated by tall grass. It was here that we flushed a huge female Great-horned Owl out of a Eastern Red Cedar. Walking back we ran into five Yellow-rumped Warblers and an adult Cooper's Hawk. What a location!
We thern hit the Tiffany Creek Preserve and birded a small field which contains breeding Eastern Bluebirds. We didn't turn up anything unusual, but it was still great to be out in such a unique location this time of year.