Yesterday morning/afternoon I got to Riverhead at 10 am, which is about an hour’s drive away, and spent about four hours looking for passage birds. We saw three Red-tails, one of which was possibly immature, but before we could get a positive ID, the bird took off downwind and we were scolded for trespassing on someone’s land (“We’re just birdwatchers, we thought we saw a Golden Eagle! Turned out to be a giant Red-tail, oh well…”).
This morning I left Southampton at 7:15 and headed up the island with the hope that the birds would be more active in the early morning. Our luck got worse. We only saw two Red-tails this time, both haggards, and we covered a lot more area than we had the day before. Until we got back to Southampton, that is. After saying good-bye to my sponsor, my dad and I headed home the long way, looking around north of the highway in Southampton and Watermill for Red-tails. We saw five or six red-tails in about 20 minutes, one of which might have been immature, but was perched up on the top of a giant radio tower and I couldn’t get a good enough look at it to tell.
The good news is that I don’t have to drive back and forth for hours anymore, since all the Red-tails are living practically in my backyard by comparison. Hopefully I’ll have some better luck in the next couple of days.