The air traffic control frequencies seemed quieter than normal, but the silence got downright spooky in New York Approach airspace. Transiting some of the busiest airspace in the world, it seemed like N631S and I were alone. On a normal day, the flight path follows airway Victor 1 from New Jersey directly over John F. Kennedy International Airport, then off to the northeast along Victor 229 to Bridgeport. Today was not normal.
Flooding from Irene's torrential rains had caused the closure of Sikorsky Memorial Airport (KBDR) but one runway had re-opened at 0830 local time. Having been cleared for the visual approach to Runway 24, I contacted the Tower and the controller advised me to exercise caution due to ponding near the runway and extensive bird activity. Apparently, our feathered friends are enthusiastic about the new-born pond!
As I was about to turn base, toward the runway, the controller said, "31 Sierra, if you can give me a right 360 there, I'll get a truck to go over there and scare away the birds." I said "Wilco," and set up a standard two-minute turn while "Rescue 4" drove past the pond making noise. Finishing 270 degrees of the turn put me onto the base leg of the approach. I saw the pond, and the birds now returning to it. So I "landed long", passing over the birds and touching down well past them. It's to be hoped that the waters will soon subside, and the birds will return to their more usual environs.