Saturday 5/21/16

 

 

 

 

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~The bird of the day was undoubtedly this roosting Common Nighthawk. This was my first time seeing this bird perched like this, and it was incredible. I set up the scope to allow everyone to get really incredible looks at this bird. Laurel Grove Cemetery, 5/21/16.~

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.

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~A young American Robin strikes a pose on a tombstone at the Laurel Grove Cemetery, 5/21/16.~

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.

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~A noisy shot of a Worm-eating Warbler at Pochuck Mountain SF, 5/21/16.~ 
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~Definitely a favorite! Black-billed Cuckoo at Wickham Woodlands Town Park, 5/19/16.~ 
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~At the Goshen park and ride first thing this morning, American Robin 5/21/16.~
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~These guys keep avoiding me this spring, so I wanted to post the one shot I’ve gotten. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher at Wickham Woodlands Town Park, 5/2/16.~ 
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~This bird surprised me – a Purple Martin flying over Wickham Lake, 5/2/16.~
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~Yellow Warbler at Wickham Woodlands Town Park, 5/2/16.~ 

POCHUCK MOUNTAIN STATE FOREST, 5/21/16

Turkey Vulture
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Great Crested Flycatcher
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Swainson’s Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Ovenbird
Worm-eating Warbler
Blue-winged Warbler
American Redstart
Yellow Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Chipping Sparrow
Eastern Towhee
Scarlet Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole

Sunday Shots – More Good OC Birding

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~Hard to beat this – Golden-winged Warbler in a blooming Dogwood, Sterling Forest 5/15/16.~

This morning I birded with Linda Scrima and Maria Loukeris. We hit two spots and did pretty well with warblers at both of them:

STERLING FOREST – IRONWOOD DRIVE

Ovenbird
Worm-eating Warbler
Golden-winged Warbler
Blue-winged Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Hooded Warbler
American Redstart
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler
Prairie Warbler

POCHUCK MOUNTAIN STATE FOREST

Ovenbird
Worm-eating Warbler
Blue-winged Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Northern Parula
Magnolia Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Prairie 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.

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~Finally, a decent shot of a Blackburnian Warbler, Pochuck Mountain SF, 5/15/16.~
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A Yellow-throated Vireo enjoys a snack at Sterling Forest, 5/12/16.~
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~Hooded Warblers are numerous at Sterling right now but I can’t seem to get a good photo. Distant shot of a HOWA, 5/12/16.~
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~Louisiana Waterthrush at Liberty Loop, 5/9/16.~
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~One more shot of the Golden-winged Warbler, Sterling Forest SP 5/15/16.~
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~Blue-winged Warbler at Sterling Forest SP, 5/10/16.~ 
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~One of several Scarlet Tanagers at Pochuck Mountain SF, 5/15/16.~

4/30/16 – Pochuck Mountain and 6 1/2 Station Road

~Ovenbird at Pochuck Mountain SF, 4/30/16.~
~Ovenbird at Pochuck Mountain SF, 4/30/16.~

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:

Wood Thrush
Gray Catbird
Ovenbird
Blue-winged Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Scarlet Tanager
Baltimore Oriole

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.

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~This was one very accommodating  Field Sparrow, on the Heritage Trail at 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary, 4/30/16.~

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.

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~An acrobatic looking House Wren at 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary, 4/30/16. ~
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~With all the Brown-headed Cowbirds I’ve seen in recent days, I finally got a decent photo of one. 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary, 4/30/16.~
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~Blue-winged Warbler at Pochuck Mountain SF, 4/30/16.~
My FOY Green Heron, which is always exciting to me. Love this bird. 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary, 5/30/16.~
My FOY Green Heron, which is always exciting to me. Love this bird. 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary, 5/30/16.~

A Serious Case of PFBS

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~Blue-winged Warbler at Sterling Forest State Park, Ironwood Road, 5/16/15.~

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.

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~Scarlet Tanager at Pochuck Mountain State Forest, 5/17/15.~
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~An American Redstart sings his heart out at Pochuck Mountain State Forest, 5/16/15.~
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~I got my lifer GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER on Thursday with no photos. When I went back on Saturday I managed to get at least a usable shot. Sterling Forest State Park, Ironwood Drive 5/16/15.~

For those that are interested, these are the new birds added to my Orange County List in the last eight days:

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