Orange County American Golden-Plovers

One of nine American Golden-Plovers, Old Warren Sod Farm, 8/28/14.

One of nine American Golden-Plovers, Old Warren Sod Farm, 8/28/14.

I left work this afternoon with one objective: to scour southern Orange County until I found some new shorebirds. Well, I got lucky, and at my fourth stop, which was the Old Warren Sod Farm, where I located 9 American Golden Plovers. The birds were quite distant and I was struggling to ID them. My initial thought was that they were Black-bellied Plovers and  it wasn’t until John Haas showed up and the birds took flight that it became clear that they were AMGPs (no black wing-pits). The birds were quite restless and moved around quite a bit and luckily at one point they landed close enough to us for some photos. Linda Scrima also made it out a little later, and though the birds were a bit distant at that point, she got good looks in the scope.

Other shorebirds present included:  Killdeer (100+), Least Sandpipers (2), Pectoral Sandpiper (1), and Lesser Yellowlegs (1).

AGPL at Old Warren Sod Farm, 8/28/14.

AMGP at Old Warren Sod Farm, 8/28/14.

Lesser Yellowlegs in some nice light. Old Warren Sod Farm, 8/28/14.

Lesser Yellowlegs in some nice light. Old Warren Sod Farm, 8/28/14.

Pectoral Sandpiper at Old Warren Sod Farm, 8/28/14. Photo by John Haas. I had a camera meltdown when John located this Pectoral Sandpiper and was unable to get a shot. Thanks to John for giving me this one.

Pectoral Sandpiper at Old Warren Sod Farm, 8/28/14. Photo by John Haas. I had a camera meltdown when John located this Pectoral Sandpiper and was unable to get a shot. 

Four of the nine AGPL was the best I could do in one photo. Old Warren Sod Farm, 8/28/14.

Four of the nine AMGPs was the best I could do in one photo. Old Warren Sod Farm, 8/28/14.

Maine 2014 – Odds and Ends

Common Eider at Bar Harbor, Maine, 7/27/14.

A very relaxed looking male Common Eider at Bar Harbor, Maine, 7/27/14.

I finally got through the last of my photos from our trip to Maine. There is no common thread, these are simply photos from the trip that did not fit into any previous posts, but that I wanted to share.

A female Common Eider rests on a rock on the shore. Bar Harbor, Maine 7/27/14.

A female Common Eider rests on a rock on the shore. Bar Harbor, Maine 7/27/14.

We saw this Common Eider from the Shore Path at Bar Harbor, Maine 726/14.

We saw this Common Eider from the Shore Path at Bar Harbor, Maine 726/14.

I was happy to discover this Black Guillemot so close to the shore while we where having a delicious meal at Thurston's Lobster Pound in Bernard, Maine 7/31/14.

I was happy to discover this Black Guillemot so close to the shore while we where having a delicious meal at Thurston’s Lobster Pound in Bernard, Maine 7/31/14.

Also seen from Thurston's Lobster Pound, I love this shot of a Common Tern - it is SOOC (straight out of camera).

Also seen from Thurston’s Lobster Pound, I love this shot of a Common Tern – it is SOOC (straight out of camera).

One more Common Tern shot. This seems to be a tough bird to get a good photo of, I took a LOT of tern photos in Maine and only a very few were any good. This was also at Thurston's Lobster Pound in

One more Common Tern shot. This seems to be a tough bird to get a good photo of, I took a LOT of tern photos in Maine and only a very few were any good. This was also at Thurston’s Lobster Pound in Bernard, Maine 7/31/14.

I finally got a puffed up egret shot. Snowy Egret at Ogunquit Beach, Maine 7/26/14.

I finally got a puffed up egret shot. Snowy Egret at Ogunquit Beach, Maine 7/26/14.

One of six life birds I got during the trip - Piping Plover at Ogunquit, Maine 7/26/14.

One of six life birds I got during the trip – Piping Plover at Ogunquit, Maine 7/26/14.

Very cute bird - Piping Plover at Ogunquit, Maine 7/26/14.

Cute bird – Piping Plover at Ogunquit, Maine 7/26/14.

Piping Plover at Ogunquit Beach, 7/26/14.

Piping Plover at Ogunquit Beach, 7/26/14.

One of my favorites, I happy to finally get close enough for a decent shot. Bonaparte's Gull at Ogunquit Beach, 7/26/14.

One of my favorites, I happy to finally get close enough for a decent shot. Bonaparte’s Gull at Ogunquit Beach, 7/26/14.

Sweet bird. Bonaparte's Gull in Ogunquit, Maine 7/26/14.

Sweet bird. Bonaparte’s Gull in Ogunquit, Maine 7/26/14.

On our last day in Bar Harbor we walked a trail near Indian Point, Maine and found a pair of Spotted Sandpipers on the rocky beach. 8/2/14.

On our last day in Bar Harbor we walked a trail near Indian Point, Maine and found a pair of Spotted Sandpipers on the rocky beach. 8/2/14.

Orange County Glossy Ibis – A Learning Experience

A Glossy Ibis picks through the small pond south of the Heritage Trail at 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary, 8/20/14.

A Glossy Ibis picks through the small pond south of the Heritage Trail at 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary, 8/20/14.

So, yesterday afternoon I located an ibis the small pond to the south of the Heritage Trail at 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary. Having just had a very good look at the three Glossy Ibis out at the Liberty Loop just last week, this bird seemed a little different to me. This bird had white at the base of both the upper and lower bill, legs that appeared to be light orange in color (as opposed to the darker legs on the three LL ibis), a much redder overall look that was less iridescent, and to me, the bill appeared to be slightly larger. With all this in mind I started to think about the possibility of a White-faced Ibis. I did some quick, inconclusive research on my phone app and then called Rob Stone and John Haas for some guidance. Apparently, both the legs and the facial skin of a WFIB should be red/pink in color, but the key for this ID, was to see the color of the bird’s eye. If the iris was red then it would make it a White-faced, if dark it would be a Glossy. Well, this bird does not have a very large eye, and I was viewing it from just under 150 yards away, which was going to make it difficult to determine. John showed up in no time at all, but by that time, the had bird picked up and move further out by about another 40 yards. Karen Miller, Linda Scrima, Bruce Nott, and Kathleen Ashman had also showed up. We all agreed that the bird was too far to see the eye color. It was getting darker by the minute, so it was decided that John and I would work our way around the pond to get a closer look. When we did so, it was still tough to determine the eye color; I think the setting sun was playing some tricks on us. Scotty Baldinger eventually joined us, and not long after that we felt confident that the bird’s iris was not red and the bird was therefore a Glossy Ibis. It was really a fun evening for me, spending time observing such an interesting and beautiful bird and to do so with some great people made it that much better.

GLIB at 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary, 8/20/14.

GLIB at 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary, 8/20/14.

One last thing – John wrote an interesting post about this bird on his blog, and reading it, I learned about another important identifying feature: according to the Crossley Guide, the white at the base of the bill always disappears behind the eye, as opposed to the complete white surround of the White-faced Ibis.

This photo shows that the white does not continue behind the eye. Glossy Ibis at 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary, 8/20/14.

This photo shows that the white does not continue behind the eye. Glossy Ibis at 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary, 8/20/14.

 

LITTLE BLUE HERON

I did not strike out two days in a row with the Little Blue Heron located in the pond near the intersection of Routes 302 and 17K in Bullville, 8/20/14.

I did not strike out two days in a row with the Little Blue Heron located in the pond near the intersection of Routes 302 and 17K in Bullville NY, 8/20/14.

It was an eventful afternoon of birding; before I went to 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary, I went for the LITTLE BLUE HERON in Bullville again. This time I did not come up empty handed, the bird was easily located and though it was little far out, I got great looks in my scope and the photos were not too bad. This bird had a lot of personality to me – if I was a little closer (and it wasn’t backlit), I could have had some nice photos for sure because the bird kept striking interesting poses.

Interesting Orange County Ibis – 8/20/14

Quick Post: It’s late so I will give whole story in another post, but this afternoon at 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary, I located an interesting ibis that had me thinking that it was perhaps a White-faced rather than a Glossy… in the end it was a Glossy, but what an interesting and beautiful bird! Please go to the Bashakill Birder to read John Haas’ post about the bird. Meanwhile, it’s too late for a full post from me, but here are a couple of shots of the bird:

Glossy Ibis, 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary 8/20/14.

Glossy Ibis, 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary 8/20/14.

I thought this was really a gorgeous bird. Glossy Ibis at 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary, 8/20/14.

I thought this was really a gorgeous bird. Glossy Ibis at 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary, 8/20/14.

Orange County Little Blue Heron – 8/19/14

It must be something about Tuesdays. My golf day. The day when people seem find good birds. I received a call from Curt McDermott this morning; he had a Little Blue Heron in the pond just east of the intersection of 17K and 302 in Bullville (across from St. Paul’s Church). When I finally arrived after my golf match around 7:30 pm, Karen Miller met me there and the bird was no longer present – so I missed out. The good news is that apparently a lot of people got to see and photograph the bird throughout the day. Karen got some shots earlier in the evening, so huge thanks to her for letting me use one for this post:

Little Blue Heron, Bullville NY, 8/19/14. Photo by Karen Miller.

Little Blue Heron, Bullville NY, 8/19/14. Photo by Karen Miller.

Maine 2014 – SEALS!

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While we were in Harpswell, Maine, we kept seeing seals from the deck of “The Osprey’s Nest”. It was exciting to see them, but the looks were distant and usually brief. We rented a double kayak for the final three days we were there and after a trial run to test the waters, we ventured out – this time with the camera. We talked to another kayaker who was spending the summer there; he knew the lay of the land and told us where we would likely find the seals. Well, we found the seals, and they found us too. They seemed very curious about us and one came in quite close for a look. After looking around on the internet a little, I am thinking that these are Harbor Seals. If anyone knows differently, please let me know!

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Glossy Ibis Continue, 8/16/14

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As of Saturday morning, the three GLOSSY IBIS continue in the back pond of the Liberty Loop at Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge. The light was much better and the birds a touch closer which made for some decent photo ops. Other highlights of my walk around the loop this morning included an adult Bald Eagle, 40+ Bobolinks, and a Peregrine Falcon that whizzed through and caused all the shorebirds to pick up. Here’s my photos from the morning:

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One of at least 40 Bobolink at the Liberty Loop, 8/16/14.

One of at least 40 Bobolink at the Liberty Loop, 8/16/14.

I haven't posted an Indigo Bunting shot in a while - really I haven't taken any, but I couldn't resist this one. Liberty Loop, 8/16/14.

I haven’t posted an Indigo Bunting shot in a while – really I haven’t taken any, but I couldn’t resist this one. Liberty Loop, 8/16/14.

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Maine 2014 – The Osprey’s Nest

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Great Blue Heron, flying and making noise. Cundy’s Harbor, Harpswell ME, 8/3/14.

For our second week in Maine, Tricia and I rented a place in Harpswell. It was called “The Osprey’s Nest”, and it is the top floor of a cottage right on Cundy’s Harbor. There is a large deck that overlooks the water and kayaks can be launched right from the property. Also, and most importantly, it was a super birding location. It is hard to imagine the “yard list” you would come up with if you lived there – we had over 40 species in the week that we were there. I spent most of my birding time right on the deck, taking photos of birds,  relaxing,and sipping a coffee (or maybe a beer or two). We also got out in a double kayak a few times and that provided some better photos ops, especially of the seals that we had been seeing from a distance. Here’s my list for the week and photos – some taken from the deck and others from the kayak. What a super place to stay!

A view of "The Osprey's Nest" from our kayak, out in Cundy's Harbor, 8/5/14.

A view of “The Osprey’s Nest” from our kayak, out in Cundy’s Harbor, 8/5/14.

Snowy Egret while kayaking Cundy's Harbor in Harpswell ME, 8/7/14.

Snowy Egret while kayaking Cundy’s Harbor in Harpswell ME, 8/7/14.

Double Crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Snowy Egret
Canada Goose
Mallard
Common Eider
Black Scoter
Semipalmated Plover
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Spotted Sandpiper
Laughing Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black-Backed Gull
Common Tern
Black Guillemot
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
Bald Eagle
Cooper’s Hawk
Mourning Dove
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Barn Swallow
Blue Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Black-Capped Chickadee
White-Breasted Nuthatch
Tufted Titmouse
Hermit Thrush
Gray Catbird
Cedar Waxwing
Yellow Rumped Warbler
Black-Throated Green Warbler
Pine Warbler
Song Sparrow
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Lesser Yellowlegs while kayaking Cundy's Harbor in Harpswell, Maine. 8/

Lesser Yellowlegs while kayaking Cundy’s Harbor in Harpswell, Maine. 8/7/14.

I am going to do a post about the seals in Cundy's Harbor, but I couldn't leave them out of this post entirely.

I am going to do a post about the seals in Cundy’s Harbor, but I couldn’t leave them out of this post entirely.

Common Eiders live up to their name on the coast of Maine - we saw many of these birds in the two weeks we were there. I never got tired of them. This was taken from the deck of "The Osprey's Nest", 8/5/14.

Common Eiders truly live up to their name on the coast of Maine – we saw many of these birds in the two weeks we were there. I never got tired of them. This was taken from the deck of “The Osprey’s Nest”, 8/5/14.

I think this is a young Common Tern, shot while kayaking Cundy's Harbor, 8/7/14.

I think this is a young Common Tern, shot while kayaking Cundy’s Harbor, 8/7/14.

Double Crested Cormorants are also very numerous, but I did not have many photo ops. This one was while kayaking Cundy's Harbor in Harpswell Maine, 8/7/14.

Double Crested Cormorants are also very numerous, but I did not have many photo ops. This one was taken while kayaking Cundy’s Harbor in Harpswell Maine, 8/7/14.

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This flock of Semipalmated Plovers visited us every day we were there. This was taken from the deck of “The Osprey’s Nest”, 8/8/14.

Liberty Loop Glossy Ibis – 8/14/14

One of three GLOSSY IBIS at Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge, 8/14/14.

One of three GLOSSY IBIS at Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge, 8/14/14.

The back pond at the Liberty Loop is certainly the local birding hotspot right now. Only one day after having a Willet there, today there were three GLOSSY IBIS present. The birds were in close, providing super looks and good photo ops. Linda Scrima joined me after a little while and we really enjoyed watching and photographing the birds as they fed nearly non-stop. Gorgeous and exciting birds! Here are some more shots:

This bird took a very thorough bath and then spent some time trying to dry off. Glossy Ibis at Wallkill River NWR - Liberty Loop, 8/14/14.

This bird took a very thorough bath and then spent some time trying to dry off. Glossy Ibis at Wallkill River NWR – Liberty Loop, 8/14/14.

The birds were feeding heavily. From what I could tell, they were eating small frogs and I think in this photo it's a large beetle.

The birds were feeding heavily. From what I could tell, they were eating small frogs and I think in this photo it’s a large beetle.

All three Glossy Ibis at the Liberty Loop today, 8/14/14.

All three Glossy Ibis at the Liberty Loop today, 8/14/14.

Liberty Loop Willet 8/13/14

Willet at Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge - Liberty Loop,  8/13/14. Photo by Linda Scrima.

Willet at Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge – Liberty Loop, 8/13/14. Photo by Linda Scrima.

This morning at the back pond of the Liberty Loop, Linda Scrima located and photographed the above WILLET. By the time I got out to the loop this evening along with Maria Loukeris, the bird had relocated to very deep into the pond. It was too far for photos, but we got enjoyed good looks in the scope. The bird flew short distances a few times, showing its beautifully marked black and white underwings. Huge thanks to Linda for both locating the bird and also for the great photo.

Willet at the Liberty Loop, 8/14/14. Photo by Linda Scrima.

Willet at the Liberty Loop, 8/14/14. Photo by Linda Scrima.

Before looking for the Willet, I met Linda and Maria over at 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary to go for the Stilt Sandpiper (which had been relocated by a number of birders earlier in the day). We were unable to relocate the bird, but we did get nice looks at a Wilson’s Snipe, a bird that I have not gotten too many photos of:

Wilson's Snipe at 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary, 8/13/14.

Wilson’s Snipe at 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary, 8/13/14.