Thursday, 21 September 2017

Birding Across The Pond - Part One

Date: 1st September 2017 - 14th September 2017
Location: New York > Niagara Falls > Las Vegas > San Francisco > New York
Weather: Everything but Snow!

Observation: We had planned a trip to United States earlier in year and the 1st of September came and we boarded a Virgin Atlantic jet bound for New York City, it was my first time although Lauren had been before (a few times!). 
I was reminded a number of times, it was not a bird-watching trip but my 400mm lens and binoculars were first things to pack! 

We arrived late afternoon and a short trip into Central Park was first on the cards, House Sparrow were everywhere in the Park, it seems they are having a very good year there. Then a shiny iridescent bird showed a Common Grackle the 400mm not needed as most birds I was seeing were very close, lots and lots of people in park, so I guess not bothered. 

Common Grackle

American Redstart

American Robin, lots of these in Park 30+ all posing and feeding. 

Blue Jays were calling they sounded like Hawks. 

American Redstart, Great White Egret so close you could touch them, almost! 
Song Sparrow and Northern Cardinal were my next new birds on this short visit. 

After visiting an extremely busy, extremely busy! Times Square, time for bed. An early rise and time for a boat trip to Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty, Ring-Billed Gulls everywhere, 150+ and to think I rushed to Chew Valley for ONE! Laughing Gull in good numbers also perched up scavenging around picnic tables calling, can see why they are calling Laughing Gull. 

Double Crested Cormorants dotted around the Island too. Next up, One World Trade Centre and the site for the Old World Trade Centres, a huge waterfall now sits in the footprints where the buildings used to stand. 100’s of people stood remembering the disaster. A few trees dotted around the site and I spotted an American Redstart and a very smart Black n White Warbler! 

Lens out and a few snaps with 100’s of people around oblivious to them! While looking an Ovenbird also appeared. 

That evening we planned on going to Dumbo Park for a few night shots of the Manhattan Skyline, while there had an Eastern wood Pewee and a Philadelphia Vireo, thanks to the Merlin bird app for ID’s other would have taken ages to ID all these birds. 

Philadelphia Vireo

Next morning, another wander around Central Park picking up a few more birds including Peregrine Falcon, Northern Parula, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Grey Catbird, Northern Flicker, Common Yellowthroat plus an amazing Magnolia Warbler, lots of others too. 

Northern Flicker

Magnolia Warbler

Spotted Sandpiper

White-Breasted Nuthatch

Black and White Warbler

Grey Catbird

Off to Airport for the next part of the trip to Niagara Falls, our hotel was amazing with a view over both falls American Falls and Horseshoe Falls which make up Niagara Falls, while watching from the 48th floor, a Turkey Vulture casually drifts into view followed by a diving Peregrine Falcon!!!! 

A great place, American Goldfinch, Bonaparte’s Gull and again many Ring-Billed Gulls made up the majority of species around the Falls. After doing the boat trip to the waterfalls, amazing and very wet, we walked from USA to Canada across the very close Rainbow Bridge and on entering Canada saw a colourful Black-Throated Green Warbler with a Black-Capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse and a Downy Woodpecker. 

Black-Throated Green Warbler

Black-Capped Chickadee

 Black Squirrel

Groundhog / Woodchuck

Song Sparrow

Ring-Billed Gull

American Crows and even a California Gull with the hundreds of House Sparrows in the Picnic site! 

Had 1 Golden Eagle and more Turkey Vultures overhead. On going back through passport control and back into USA we headed for a small nature reserve called Dufferin Island, a walkable distance from Niagara just. It rained and we got lost a bit but it was worth it! 

When we found it we had Caspian Tern, massive! Red-Winged Blackbird, Willow Flycatcher, Downy Woodpecker so close, Red-Eyed Vireo, Belted Kingfisher plus many more a great little spot, time ticked on and we had to leave. 

Red-Winged Blackbird

Caspian Tern

Northern Cardinal

Red-Eyed Vireo 

Downy Woodpecker

New York City @ Night

Niagara Falls, Canada

Part Two:

Thanks For Looking! 
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