• Visitors tour Castle Williams.

    Governors Island

    National Monument New York

September 2011 Birding Journal with Annie

Birding Governors Island
August 19, 2011
Historic District and the perimeter of south island
10:30-12:00 & 12:33-2:00
75-81 degrees overcast and still to sunny and breezy, humid

The August doldrums have struck Governors Island, at least in terms of birds. I scoured the entire Historic District and the accessible areas of south island and didn't see a whole lot. This isn't surprising for this time of year. Some birds, like common terns, barn swallows and chimney swifts, have already left for their winter grounds, while migration from the north has not started in earnest yet. So numbers were low today. The only exception was at the Added Value Farm at Picnic Point. There 34 (give or take) chickens have been in residence for the summer. There are hens and roosters of several breeds, and they are handsome birds. They spend their time at the composting area of the farm, scratching in the dirt and compost piles for insects, thus helping the composting process. I don't include these birds in my count because they are domestic, but they are certainly a welcome addition to the island.

My observations for the day:

Canada goose 92

Double crested cormorant 15

Black-crowned night heron 2

Mallard 2 (1 female, 1 male)

American kestrel 1 unknown

Spotted sandpiper 1

Laughing gull 1

Herring gull 70 (60 adult, 3 immature, 7 juvenile)

Great black-backed gull 4

Common tern 12

Mourning dove 17

Rock pigeon 3 (2 a; 1 deceased)

Northern flicker 1 unknown

Crow 2

Barn swallow 1 unknown

Robin 11 (7 adult, 4 immature)

Mockingbird 5 (3 adult, 2 juvenile)

European starling 23

Northern cardinal 3 (1 male, 2 juvenile)

Common Grackle 1

House sparrow 31

Did You Know?

U.S. Army Air Corps Colonel Hap Arnold in the 1930s.

Henry “Hap” Arnold (1886-1950), a founding father of the modern U.S. Air Force, got the itch to fly while a second lieutenant in the infantry at Fort Jay in 1909, watching biplanes take off and land on Governors Island. His commanding officer told him that he knew of no better way to commit suicide. In 1911, he learned to fly with the Wright brothers and would go on to become the first five-star general of the Army Air Corps and the first and only five star general of the U.S. Air Force.