An Energetic Shoveler

Tuesday, January 22, 2019,

This is a series of photos I took of a male Northern Shoveler stretching his wings or maybe just shedding some excess water. Or both, I don’t really know.

What I can tell you is that these are one of the most specialized ducks that visit Long Island. I’m not sure that you can see it in these pics, but Norther Shovelers have a very unique bill that they use as a sieve to filter out seeds and aquatic invertebrates from the water. They usually go around with half of their head submerged as they sweep that extra wide bill from side to side in search of dinner. It really is an amazing adaptation.


Palm Warbler

Tuesday, November 13, 2018,

This is a Palm Warbler that I encountered at Frank Melville Park last month. Warblers have been migrating through here on their way south. This bird was staying low to the ground, searching for insects. It was zooming around, sometimes visiting small bushes but mostly zipping around patches of grass. I took lots of photographs but this bird was not staying very still anywhere it went. These are two of only three pics that were in good focus. I did, however, manage to get several great shots of empty grassy areas. Unfortunately, shots like that don’t generate much interest amongst nature lovers. Sigh. JK


Solitary Sandpiper Visiting Frank Melville Park

Wednesday, November 7, 2018,

Frank Melville Park in Setauket boasts two ponds and a terrific view of the estuary that leads into Conscience Bay. Lesser known is a third not-quite pond or rather large occasional puddle that develops after heavy rains. It also appears when a good amount of snow melts in the early Spring. This pond or puddle gets deep enough for Mallards to swim on and gives them a chance to browse upon the lawn beneath them. 

Of course, ducks are not the only birds attracted to new watery habitats. New habitats offer new opportunities. After some recent rains created this new wetlands at least one Solitary Sandpiper decided to take advantage of the new digs. Actually, three different Solitary Sandpipers found the puddle but on most days only one was present. I guess they really do prefer to remain solitary, although I did manage to see all three birds on one occasion. These shots were all taken on the same day and of the same bird as it was sampling the local fare. JK