Early this morning, Kyle, Linda, Maria, and I went to Laurel Grove Cemetery, hoping that some new birds had moved in. Last night, the radar looked good and the winds were favorable, but this morning, the cemetery was very quiet. If we hadn’t run into Rob Stone while we were out there, it would have been pretty much a total bust. Rob had located a roosting Common Nighthawk, which is something I’ve never seen and that I’ve been dying to see. I think it was probably a first for everyone in the group. Photos were tough as the nighthawk’s great camouflage didn’t seem to allow my autofocus differentiate the bird from tree. At Kyle’s suggestion, I got my scope from the car and we all got really incredible looks. The only other notable bird was a trio of Blackpoll Warblers very high in a tree.
We decided to move on and try our luck at Pochuck Mountain State Forest. It was a little bit more birdy there, but really, nothing amazing. Highlights included really good looks at several Worm-eating Warblers and Scarlet Tanagers, and hearing and seeing several Yellow-billed Cuckoos. We had a modest 32 species at Pochuck; I’ve included my list of birds at the bottom of this post.
I’m also playing a little catch up with this post – I’ve included a shot of a Black-billed Cuckoo that Linda and I had at Wickham Lake on Thursday, as well as 3 shots from early in May that I somehow never posted. They were from Wickham Lake as well.
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Other notable birds included super looks at 2 Yellow-billed Cuckoos (unfortunately, I blew the pics!), a Swainson’s Thrush, and several Scarlet Tanagers all of which were seen at Pochuck Mountain. The Golden-winged Warbler was a lifer for Linda, so congrats to her on that.
It’s really a great time of the year for birding, and I’m embracing warblers for the first time really, so it’s been very enjoyable. I’ve included photos from earlier this week, when I made visits to Sterling Forest and the Liberty Loop.
It’s that time of year when new birds are not very hard to come by. Migration is getting into full swing, and many new birds are moving into and through the area. I spent the morning and into the early afternoon birding at the above locations, and added 14 new species to my Orange County year list.
First thing this morning, I met Linda Scrima and Maria Loukeris at Pochuck Mountain State Forest, which was quite birdy. We had a nice long walk with 33 species and I added 8 personal first of year (FOY) birds:
Ovenbird was the bird of the day for sure; we heard them calling all along the trail as we walked. It was a nice outing, although at the end we had to cut it short and hustle back to our cars as both Linda and Maria had other obligations.
Afterwards, I headed over to 6 1/2 Station Road with the main goal of trying for some shorebirds. I started at the Citgo Pond, and although it was not a great success, I did see a several Killdeer, 2 Lesser Yellowlegs (FOY in Orange County), and 2 Spotted Sandpipers (FOY). The habitat looks good there right now for shorebirds, so I will be checking in for sure. I also walked a portion of the Heritage Trail, and ultimately I had 32 species. Other new year birds for me included: Green Heron, several Chimney Swifts, 2 Warbling Vireos, and a House Wren. I was bummed out about the Warbling Vireos because they were down low and in good light, but for some reason I was never able to get a good focus while I was trying to photograph them.
While I wouldn’t categorize it as amazing, it was certainly a good and enjoyable day of birding.
Since my return from Florida I have gotten out and done a lot of local birding whereI have seen and heard many birds, yet it has not felt overly fulfilling. I was thinking about it today and that’s when I realized that I am not well; I am suffering from a case of Post Florida Birding Syndrome. A while back, Linda Scrima warned me that this would happen. Who would have guessed that it would difficult to transition from taking super close-up photos of multiple life birds every day to trying to locate the smallest of birds among the leaves in the highest treetops?
The good news is that I think I’ve found a remedy: I’m thinking back on all the amazing first-of-the-year birds that I’ve had in the eight days since I’ve been back. The list is 50 species long just for Orange County! What better indication is there of all the great birding that is going on right now? And the Mearns Bird Club had their BREAK 100 event this weekend; every team but one had over 100 species in 24 hours! How awesome is that? Additionallhy, while they were not Florida-close, I did manage to get some decent photos during the week. It makes me think about what a great pastime birding is, how there are amazing birds at every turn and that you never know what the next big thing will be.
For those that are interested, these are the new birds added to my Orange County List in the last eight days: