I was awoken by rain on the roof of the car, not the best way to start a day of planned photography. It did stop but the light was dire, nonetheless I had a short wander on the beach in search of opportunities. Not much doing, though some [unfortunate] interest in some Common Tern that were being harassed by a red balloon that had drifted into the breeding colony. Even though it was the fault of humans I didn’t feel I should go and deal with it in case I caused even greater anxiety or even worse trod on an egg. In the end they popped it and settled back down, I just hope that nothing eats it.
Finding no photographic scenes of note I changed tack and went birding over the road at the Lido Passive Nature Area. This is not a big area but it had lots of birds – breeding Osprey, both species of Night Heron, plenty of egrets and best of all a Clapper Rail. I followed the path to the end where there was a viewing platform out towards the last few remaining bay houses. Unfortunately it soon became apparent that I was the dish of the day for vast swarms of mosquitos that also inhabited the swampy shoreline, and I was forced to beat a retreat back to the car. The weather had not really improved – grey muggy skies – so it looked like birding was going to be the order of the day rather than photography. I never view this as a problem and I had plenty of ideas of where to go. Fed up with Ticks of the small crawly kind and wanting to be close to the airport for a quick getaway, there was only really ever one plan – Jamaica Bay NWR, that splendid nature reserve with rather unexpected views of the Manhattan skyline.
After a truly excellent multi-thousand calorie breakfast at the Crossbay Diner which would ensure I didn’t need to eat again for the rest of the day, I pulled up at the reserve. It is free to enter, and the damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy had been repaired since the last time I visited which meant that the entire West Pond is able to be walked. I thought about not taking my camera, but the weather seemed to have improved marginally so once more I hauled it onto my shoulder.