Montauk Point Walk Recap

Jan 11, 2022 | Nature Walks, The Sandpiper

Six participants, including field trip leader, braved the first really cold weather of the season (wind chills below 20 degrees early) for the chapter’s annual January field trip to Montauk and elsewhere on the south fork. But some good birds and clear, sunny skies made it easily tolerable.

There were remarkably few sea ducks off Montauk Point State Park, low even by the trend of recent years. Likely explainable by the unseasonably warm weather so far this winter. But this was compensated for by an impressive flight of Razorbill, totaling 226 birds, the most this writer has seen in one day. Likely brought south by the cold snap.

Later, we had an exciting, albeit frustratingly brief, roadside encounter with a Western Kingbird along East Lake Drive as we drove to Outer Beach. Most only saw it flying over their heads after we’d pulled over. This bird likely the same one found three weeks earlier during the Montauk Christmas Count.

After stops at the other locations regularly on the itinerary, the trip concluded at Shinnecock Inlet, where we again saw far fewer sea ducks than normal. But we did see a Purple Sandpiper on and around the jetty, and later a showy male King Eider inside the inlet. The latter was spotted shortly after the trip bad broken up, so texts were rapidly sent out to get those who had left reassembled! 

After our second and final dispersal, some of us independently found different Snowy Owls farther west along Dune Road. A fine end to a not too shabby day!

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One day in December of 2016 I was sitting in my car in a McDonald’s parking lot in Islip eating French fries and there was a gull sitting on the hood of my car looking at me through the windshield.

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