Bird-watching at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge - May 19th, 2012

I spent Saturday bird-watching and exploring Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens. It's a beautiful protected bird sanctuary not far below JFK International Airport. It is owned and run by the National Park Service. It took about an hour and a half to reach from Manhattan by subway and bus but was worth the trip!


Tree Swallow in its nesting box:




To me, the most exciting park birds are the two resident nesting pairs of Ospreys. They built nests atop man-made towers provided for them. Both adult Ospreys were on the first nest I came across (which reportedly had four eggs in it). 

I saw two nestlings' heads poking up from the rim of the nest. I don't know if the other two eggs in the first nest hatched.

First nest: 


You can just see one of the babies' heads poking up between the adults:


Since May 2nd of this year the male adult has had a GPS transmitter harnessed around its back for research and tracking purposes. You can follow the whereabouts of the Osprey online at http://jamaicabayosprey.org/ when it becomes live next month.

Two babies. The male adult is on the right (transmitter on his back):


Baby seen more clearly:


Tree Swallows nearby:



While I was photographing the Tree Swallows, the male Osprey had left the nest and disappeared.

Feeding time?


I'll have to look this bird up but it might be a Black-crowned Night Heron:


Glossy Ibis:



Canada Geese making their way to a pond:



Empire State Building in the distance:


Empire State Building and other buildings of the Manhattan skyline:


Red-winged Blackbird:


One World Trade Center, or the "Freedom Tower", still under construction:



Family of Canada Geese approaching:









Black-headed Gull:




Having a drink or just missing a fish:



Another Goose family:




Mallards:


Cormorants:



Huge apartment complex:



Geese sorting out their hierarchy formation:


All figured out:


Yellow Warbler:





Glossy Ibis:



Part of the walking trail:


Second Osprey nest:



One of the adults in flight:


A harassing gull:





Osprey in the nest:


Gray Catbird:


Yellow Warbler:


Another Gray Catbird to cap the day: