Port Jervis, 11/23/14

I finally got a shot of a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker that was not in the shade. Laurel Grove Cemetery, Port Jervis NY, 11/23/14.

I finally got a shot of a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker that was not in the shade. Laurel Grove Cemetery, Port Jervis NY, 11/23/14.

I’ve been feeling like I’ve been in a bit of a slump lately, so in an effort to mix it up a bit, Karen Miller and I birded Port Jervis, New York this morning. We birded three different locations: a reservoir northwest of Port Jervis, Laurel Grove Cemetery, and a small park in Port Jervis that borders the Delaware River. We identified 27 species for the morning. Before heading home, Karen wanted to show me the “Hawk’s Nest”, which is a beautiful scenic stretch of road just outside of Port Jervis. The road winds alongside the Delaware River, climbing all the time. There are areas where you can pull off and take it all in. We stopped at one of these, where we got our 28th species of the day; an adult Bald Eagle flew right over the car! I was not prepared for it, so my exposure is not great, but I did get some photos, here’s one:

An adult Bald Eagle flies over the "Hawk's Nest", Port Jervis NY, 11/23/14.

An adult Bald Eagle flies over the “Hawk’s Nest”, Port Jervis NY, 11/23/14.

Tufted Titmouse at Laurel Grove Cemetery in Port Jervis, 11/23/14.

Tufted Titmouse at Laurel Grove Cemetery in Port Jervis, 11/23/14.

Far and away the most plentiful bird of the day, I sort of like this shot of an American Crow, a bird that I find difficult to photograph. Laurel Grove Cemetery in Port Jervis NY, 11/23/14.

Far and away the most plentiful bird of the day, I sort of like this shot of an American Crow, a bird that I find difficult to photograph. Laurel Grove Cemetery in Port Jervis NY, 11/23/14.

It was good to change things up and bird some new locations; thanks to Rob Stone who helped out with the spots. Here’s our list:

The "Hawk's Nest" scenic drive in Port Jervis NY.

The “Hawk’s Nest” scenic drive in Port Jervis NY.

Canada Goose
Mute Swan
Mallard
Hooded Merganser
Common Merganser
American Coot
Red-tailed Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Bald Eagle
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
Eastern Bluebird
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
American Goldfinch

Saturday’s Shots

I just love these Horned Larks and I I was trying to get some more interesting photos of them today. I was trying to anticipate when the birds would interact like this. Black Dirt Region, 11/22/14.

I just love these Horned Larks and I I was trying to get some more interesting photos of them today. I was trying to anticipate when the birds would interact like this. Black Dirt Region, 11/22/14.

I birded in the black dirt this morning and didn’t have any out-of-the-ordinary sightings but the light was nice and I took a lot of photos, so I’m going with basically a photo post.

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It’s the Northern Harrier time of year. I didn’t have any terrific opportunities but I did take some distant shots. Black Dirt Region, 11/22/14.

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I love the light and the shape of this bird the streetlight and a truck in the background….ugh. Northern Harrier in Pine Island, NY 11/22/14.

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I have this as a first winter White-crowned Sparrow, at Wallkill River NWR, Liberty Loop Trail, 11/22/14.

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This not a bird that I get many photos of for some reason. Northern Cardinal at Wallkill River NWR, Liberty Loop Trail, 11/22/14.

The highlight of the day was being able to spend some time with some Horned Larks in several locations in the black dirt. These two shots preceded the photo at the top of this post:

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I love the dirt flying in this photo! Horned Lark in the Black Dirt Region, 11/22/14.

I love the dirt flying in this photo! Horned Lark in the Black Dirt Region, 11/22/14.

Gorgeous individual here, in my opinion. Horned Lark in the Black Dirt, 11/22/14.

Gorgeous individual here, in my opinion. Horned Lark in the Black Dirt, 11/22/14.

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Sweetness. Horned Lark in the Black Dirt Region, 11/22/14.

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This is a more typical look; Horned Lark in the Black Dirt, 11/22/14.

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday 11/18/14

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Can you locate the two blue morph Snow Geese in this photo? Black Dirt Region, Orange County NY, 11/18/14.

It’s that time of year again, when my evening birding time is severely reduced by the shortened days and Canada Geese gather in numbers in Orange County. Tonight I made it out to the Black Dirt Region and located a flock of approximately 1,700 Canada Geese with 3 blue morph Snow Geese among them. It was a distant look, but still nice to sift through the geese and find some gems. Oh, and it is also that time of year when it is COLD! Windy and low temps made for some uncomfortable birding. Here are some shots of the Canadas:

A flying, calling Canada Goose comes in for a landing. Black Dirt Region, 11/18/14.

A flying, calling Canada Goose comes in for a landing right at sunset. Black Dirt Region, 11/18/14.

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I love these guys. Canada Geese in the black dirt, 11/18/14.

Black Dirt Brant

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A single Brant, among a flock of Canada Geese, Black Dirt Region, 11/16/14.

QUICK POST:  I took a driving tour of the Black Dirt Region this morning to see what was going on. It was an uneventful morning; I had relatively few species (25 in the black dirt), and most were expected. American Pipits are still present in decent numbers, I saw several smaller flocks in various locations. I had many Horned Larks for the day, but never got any good looks at some of the larger groups to sift through them for longspurs. I did have a couple of interesting birds – there was a single Snow Goose way out in a field with about a dozen Canada Geese on Celery Avenue. The highlight of the morning for me was locating a BRANT among a group of approximately 100 Canada Geese on Missionland Road. From what I read in the Crossley Guide, this is a juvenile because of the white fringes to the coverts and the lack of a white necklace, which will grow in through the fall. The light did not lend itself to good photography, but here are some shots from the morning:

I enjoy seeing a Great Blue Heron in the black dirt. This one is peering over an embankment. Missionland Road, 11/16/14.

I enjoy seeing a Great Blue Heron in the black dirt. This one is peering over an embankment. Missionland Road, 11/16/14.

Crows were numerous and  seemed to be at every turn this morning. Black Dirt Region, 11/16/14.

Crows were numerous and seemed to be at every turn this morning. Black Dirt Region, 11/16/14.

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Here’s one more of the Brant. Missionland Road, 11/16/14.

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Downy Woodpecker on Celery Avenue, 11/16/14. 

 

Mt. Peter Hawk Watch, 11/15/14

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One final Turkey Vulture photo, Mt. Peter Hawk Watch, 11/15/14.

Today was my final day of the season at Mt. Peter Hawk Watch, and it ended up being a really good one. It was a sunny, cool, and crisp day with very few clouds in the sky (which makes it difficult to locate birds). I had one major goal for the day: to surpass 9,000 birds for the season at the watch. We started the day needing 60 migrating raptors to reach this goal. We were successful, thanks to the help of fellow counters Ken Witkowski, Ajit Antony, Denise Ferrel, and Judy Cinquina and once again the young eyes of Kyle Dudgeon. By the end of the day, we had counted 71 birds moving through, which put our total for the season at 9,012 migrating raptors. I was, of course, also hoping for a Golden Eagle or a Northern Goshawk, but both eluded me for this season. It was a tough day for photos, but here is a distant shot of one the adult Bald Eagles that we saw today.

A distant look at an Adult Bald Eagle. This bird headed north and was not counted, Mt. Peter Hawk Watch, 11/15/14.

A distant look at an Adult Bald Eagle in a cloudless sky. This bird headed north and was not counted, Mt. Peter Hawk Watch, 11/15/14.

And here is my report for the day:

Mount Peter
Warwick, New York, USA

Daily Raptor Counts: Nov 15, 2014
Species                 Day’s Count  /  Month Total  /  Season Total
Black Vulture                   8                    90                 232
Turkey Vulture                15                  216                 570
Osprey                            0                      1                  111
Bald Eagle                      2                      9                    79
Northern Harrier              0                      9                    46
Sharp-shinned Hawk      1                     28                1119
Cooper’s Hawk              1                     23                  122
Northern Goshawk         0                       1                      1
Red-shouldered Hawk    0                     58                  136
Broad-winged Hawk       0                       0                5685
Red-tailed Hawk            43                   428                 658
Rough-legged Hawk       0                        0                     0
Golden Eagle                  0                        7                    10
American Kestrel            0                        4                  139
Merlin                              0                       1                    23
Peregrine Falcon             0                       1                    12

Total:                             71                   889                 9012
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Start time: 09:00:00
Observation end time: 16:00:00
Total observation time: 7 hours
Official Counter Matt Zeitler
Observers: Ajit I. Antony, Denise Farrell, Judith C. Cinquina, Ken Witkowski

Visitors:
Kyle Dudgeon, Bobby Kerr, and Liza Antony.

Weather:
Sunny and cold with very few clouds. Winds out of the NW at 10-15 km/hour. Temperatures ranged from -2 to 2 degrees Celsius.

Raptor Observations:
Two migrating Bald Eagles, one adult and one immature. An additional adult was observed heading NNE.

Non-raptor Observations:
Other Species: Common Loon (7), American Goldfinch (25), Black-capped Chickadees (4), American Robin (37), Ring-billed Gull (12), Canada Goose (22), Pine Siskin (60), American Crow (22), Eastern Bluebird (6), Common Raven (3), and Cedar Waxwing (15).

Black Dirt, 11/09/14

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Male Horned Lark in the Black Dirt Region, 11/09/14.

Quick Post: I tooled around the Black Dirt Region for a little while this morning, mostly in hopes of relocating a Lapland Longspur that had been reported from the Mearns Bird Club field trip the day before. I dipped on the longspur, but there were plenty of Horned Larks and American Pipits to sift through. The birds were in loose flocks and most were quite distant, but I did have a few closer birds which allowed for some photos. I really enjoy seeing and photographing these birds, and although it didn’t happen for me today, it’s really exciting because there is always the possibility of finding Lapland Longspurs and Snow Buntings among them.

An American Pipit stands at attention, Black Dirt Region, Orange County NY, 11/09/14.

An American Pipit stands at attention, Black Dirt Region, Orange County NY, 11/09/14.

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Female Horned Lark in the Black Dirt, 11/09/14. 

Mount Peter Hawk Watch – 11/08/14

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A migrating Red-tailed Hawk at Mt. Peter Hawk Watch, 11/08/14.

I had a nice day at Mt. Pete today. The weather was nice – sunny, crisp, and cool without being too cold, and I had enough birds flying to keep it interesting. Thanks to Kyle Dudgeon and Bobby Kerr (whose young eyes helped to locate many birds), and also to Rob Stone and Ajit and Liza Antony for their help. Here’s my report for the day:

Mount Peter
Warwick, New York, USA
Daily Raptor Counts: Nov 08, 2014
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Species            Day’s Count  /   Month Total  /  Season Total
—————— ———– ————– ————–
Black Vulture              9                    31                 173
Turkey Vulture             7                    82                 436
Osprey                       0                      0                  110
Bald Eagle                  0                      5                   75
Northern Harrier         2                       7                   44
Sharp-shinned Hawk  3                    20                 1111
Cooper’s Hawk          1                     17                  116
Northern Goshawk     0                      0                      0
Red-shouldered Hawk 8                   49                   127
Broad-winged Hawk    0                     0                  5685
Red-tailed Hawk         25                 316                   546
Rough-legged Hawk     0                    0                        0
Golden Eagle                0                    6                        9
American Kestrel           0                    4                    139
Merlin                            0                   1                       23
Peregrine Falcon           0                   1                       12

Total:                           57                 550                  8673

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Observation start time: 09:00:00
Observation end time: 16:00:00
Total observation time: 7 hours

Official Counter: Matt Zeitler

Observers: Ajit I. Antony, Rob Stone

Visitors:
Liza Antony, Kyle Dudgeon and Bobby Kerr.
Weather:
Sunny and cool with some clouds. Temperatures ranged from 1 to 8 degrees
Celsius, with moderate winds from the southwest.

Raptor Observations:
One immature and one unknown Northern Harrier.

Three adult, two immature, and three unknown Red-shouldered Hawks.

Non-raptor Observations:
Other Species: Ring-billed Gull (15), Canada Goose (17), Dark-eyed Junco
(2), White-breasted Nuthatch (2), American Robin (22), American Goldfinch
(2), Common Raven (2), American Crow (12), Blue Jay (8), Tufted Titmouse
(4), Eastern Bluebird (1), Rock Pigeon (1).

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The always obligatory Turkey Vulture shot. Mt. Peter Hawk Watch, 11/08/14. 

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Not the greatest shot, but a migrating Sharp-shinned Hawk passes on the west side of the viewing platform. Mt. Peter Hawk Watch, 11/08/14. 

On Friday evening I hit the Black Dirt Region and tried again with the American Pipits:

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I’m kind of liking these birds – American Pipit in the Black Dirt Region, Orange County NY, 11/0714. 

State Line Lunch

A local Peregrine cruises by, State Line Hawk Watch, 11/4/14.

A local Peregrine cruises by, State Line Hawk Watch, 11/4/14.

I was on the road for work today and I was passing near State Line Hawk Watch right around lunch, so I stopped in. The raptors were certainly flying; I was there for less than a half hour and I saw: Turkey Vulture (8), Black Vulture (2), Peregrine Falcon (2), Red-tailed Hawk (4), Sharp-shinned Hawk (2), and a single Merlin. Not too shabby for some unexpected birding!

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A Red-tailed Hawk at eye level. State Line Hawk Watch, 11/4/14.

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This is a very typical view at the watch – looking down at the birds. Peregrine Falcon at State Line Hawk Watch, 11/4/14.

I believe that this is the local female Peregrine Falcon, at the "perch". State Line Hawk Watch, 11/4/14.

I believe that this is the local female Peregrine Falcon, at the “perch”. State Line Hawk Watch, 11/4/14.

Right before sunset, I was in the Black Dirt Region and I finally got a half way decent shot of an American Pipit (which are plentiful in the area right now).

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American Pipit, Black Dirt Region 11/4/14.

Sullivan County Waterfowl, 11/02/14

Ruddy

One of five cooperative Ruddy Ducks at Kiamesha Lake, 11/02/14.

Since we have not been getting many ducks in southern Orange County, Karen Miller and I decided to head up to Sullivan County and get our fix. It was a very cold and windy day, probably not the best day for going for waterfowl. We went to Swan Lake, the Neversink Reservoir, Morningside Park, and Kiamesha Lake. We did pretty well, but honestly the cold an the wind made it difficult to bird. At the Neversink Reservoir, it was so windy that we could barely see through our scopes – our eyes were constantly tearing and the scopes were shaking in the wind terribly. Bufflehead were the bird of the day with many being seen at all locations except for Morningside Park. In the end we got our fix with 10 types of swimming waterbirds seen and even had some cooperative Ruddy Ducks in sunny weather at our finals stop – Kiamesha Lake for some photo ops. Here’s my list:

Canada GooseIMG_5487 - Version 2
American Black Duck
Mallard
Bufflehead
Hooded Merganser
Common Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Pied-billed Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant

It was really great to see the Bufflehead, it had been a while! Taking off at Swan Lake, 11/02/14.

It was really great to see the Bufflehead, it had been a while! Taking off at Swan Lake, 11/02/14.

Ruddy Duck

Ruddy Duck at Kiamesha Lake, 11/02/14. I love the colors on this bird.

We had many Common Merganser for the day. These were taken at Swan Lake, 11/02/14.

We had many Common Merganser for the day. These were taken at Swan Lake, 11/02/14.

A shot of one more Ruddy Duck, Kiamesha Lake, 11/02/14.

A shot of one more Ruddy Duck, Kiamesha Lake, 11/02/14.

Saturday 11/01/14

A slightly better shot of the Cattle Egret in Warwick, NY 11/1/14.

A slightly better shot of the Cattle Egret in flight, Warwick, NY 11/1/14.

This morning before heading over to Mount Peter for the Hawk Watch, I stopped in Warwick to look for the Cattle Egret but could not locate it. I figured that the bird had certainly moved on. I continued to Mt. Pete, and just as I started to unpack my gear I got a call from Karen Miller, who had relocated the bird. I whizzed down and joined Karen, but the bird flew before I had my camera ready, so once again I only got flight shots of the bird. Karen, on the other hand, got some fabulous shots of the bird perched. Huge thanks to Karen for the heads up, and for the photos that she emailed to me for this post:

Cattle Egret in Warwick NY, 11/1/14. Photo by Karen C Miller.

Cattle Egret in Warwick NY, 11/1/14. Photo by Karen C Miller.

I think this bird has a lot of character. Cattle Egret in Warwick NY, 11/01/14. Photo by Karen C Miller.

I think this bird has a lot of character. Cattle Egret in Warwick NY, 11/01/14. Photo by Karen C Miller.

I headed back up the mountain and counted hawks. It was cold, gray, and I did just alright with migrating raptors, with 63 for the day. Thanks to PJ Singh and Maria Loukeris for their visits, which really helped on a day like today. Here is my report for the day:

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Mount Peter
Warwick, New York, USA
Daily Raptor Counts: Nov 01, 2014
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Species           Day’s Count  /  Month Total  /  Season Total
—————— ———– ————– ————–
Black Vulture            5                     5                     134
Turkey Vulture         24                   24                     361
Osprey                     0                     0                     110
Bald Eagle                0                    0                        68
Northern Harrier        1                    1                       37
Sharp-shinned Hk     3                    3                    1079
Cooper’s Hawk        0                     0                        99
Northern Goshawk   0                     0                          0
Red-shouldered Hk  6                     6                         78
Broad-winged Hk     0                     0                     5685
Red-tailed Hawk     19                   19                      229
Rough-legged Hawk 0                     0                           0
Golden Eagle            0                     0                           3
American Kestrel       0                     0                      134
Merlin                        0                     0                        22
Peregrine Falcon       0                      0                       11

Total:                        63                   63                     8110

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Observation start time: 09:00:00
Observation end time: 15:45:00
Total observation time: 6.75 hours

Official Counter: Matt Zeitler

Observers:

Visitors:
PJ Singh, Maria Loukeris
Weather:
Cloudy and cool with the temperature hovering right around 5 degrees
Celsius all day. Winds were over 10 km/hr for the duration of the watch.
Rain caused the watch to start one hour late and end fifteen minutes early.
Raptor Observations:
Four unknown Red-shouldered Hawks, one adult Red-shouldered Hawk, one
immature Red-shouldered Hawk, and one unknown Northern Harrier. The heavy
cloud cover and low light made it challenging to locate and identify
migrating raptors.

Non-raptor Observations:
Other Species: Canada Goose (507), Downy Woodpecker (1), Black-capped
Chickadee (6), Tufted Titmouse (4), American Crow (32), White-breasted
Nuthatch (1), Red-bellied Woodpecker (1), Pileated Woodpecker (1),
White-throated Sparrow (1), Common Raven (2), Pine Siskin (22),
Double-crested Cormorant (1), Snow Goose (1)

When I stopped for the Cattle Egret, I opened my car door to see this Red-tailed Hawk above me. Warwick, NY 11/1/14.

When I stopped for the Cattle Egret, I opened my car door to see this Red-tailed Hawk above me. Warwick, NY 11/1/14.