Birder's Guide

MAR 2018

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 31 of 73

see over a thousand Northern Gannets tak- ing advantage of concentrations of baitfish as the birds head north. The best vantage points for waterbirds here are Coney Island Pier and the very west end of the boardwalk around West 36th Street. Regional rarities including Thick-billed Murre have been recorded, and these are probably the most reliable spots from which to see pelagic species that are rare away from the ocean proper (such as Parasitic Jaeger and shearwaters). While most bird- ers focus on this area in the colder months, the summer proved its worth in July 2011, when an adult Gray-hooded Gull was found by birders taking a midsummer stroll along the crowded beach. Only the second time this species had been seen in the U.S., the prom- ise of a glimpse of this handsome denizen of South America and Africa precipitated a great influx of birders from all over the country during the week in which it was observed. Coney Island Creek | Just northwest of Coney Island lies Coney Island Creek. On the north side of the creek is Calvert Vaux Park, formerly known as Dreier-Offerman Park. It features breeding Indigo Buntings and Orchard Orioles and has Brooklyn's only recent breeding record of Blue Grosbeak. It is also a great place to find migrants, espe- cially sparrows. One can expect double-digit species of sparrows on a good day of migra- tion in October or November. All this would be enough on its own, but Calvert Vaux Park also has an exciting track record of rarities, its most famous avian visitor being a Western Reef-Heron (the fourth North American re- cord of this African species), which was seen sporadically over the course of a month in summer 2007. On the south side of Coney Island Creek is a thin line of trees, largely black locusts, and remnants of natural dunes that together form the tiny Coney Island Creek Park. If you come here in winter, you might doubt that birds are ever present, but come on a good migration day in spring or fall, espe- cially one with some overnight precipita- Birding Brooklyn 30 Birder's Guide to Travel | April 2018 A sampling of some of the more famous avian rarities to have visited Brooklyn. ( top to bottom ) : n Gray-hooded Gull at Coney Island. Photo © Sean Sime n Franklin's Gull at Plumb Beach. Photo © Sean Sime n Western Reef-Heron at Calvert Vaux Park. Photo © Sean Sime

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