Shorebird Report, 08/13/17

~One lonely Least Sandpiper in the Black Dirt. I was really enjoying seeing this bird today – fortunately the bird was foraging close to the road so I able to get close looks and some photos. Black Dirt, 08/13/17.~

SHOREBIRD REPORT: Well, there is actually not very much to report, but it’s not for lack of trying. I am more than ready for some shorebirds to show up in Orange County, but really, the birds have been sparse. Here’s the latest:

Friday 8/11: I had a single Greater Yellowlegs at the Camel Farm, where conditions are finally shaping up a bit for shorebirds.

Saturday 8/12: The Camel Farm was a bust, but I had a single Semipalmated Plover at one location in the Black Dirt, and I had three Lesser Yellowlegs and a single Least Sandpiper at another location in the BD (as well as hundreds of Killdeer).

Sunday 8/13: I had a single Least Sandpiper in the Black Dirt that was very accommodating for photos, the Camel Farm had no shorebirds, and Citgo Pond had 5 Least Sandpipers. All the recent rain has made conditions at Citgo less than ideal, so I was happy to have the 5 LESAs. I ran into Jeff Goulding and Bill Fiero at Citgo, and they informed me that they had several Lesser Yellowlegs at the Liberty Loop earlier in the day. They also informed me that the LITTLE BLUE HERON continues at that location. And, finally, John Haas had 20 Least Sandpipers, 2 Solitary Sandpipers, and a Semipalmated Sandpiper at Morningside Park in Sullivan County this morning. I plan on getting out to that location in the upcoming days for sure. Check out his post here.

~One of the MANY Killdeer in the Black Dirt right now, 08/1/17.~ 
~Another look at the Least Sandpiper in the Black Dirt, 08/13/17.~
~Two Lesser Yellowlegs at Turtle Bay, 08/12/17.~ 
~When looking for shorebirds, it seems much more likely to find falcons. American Kestrel in the Black Dirt, 08/13/17.~ 
~A young American Kestel perched on some farm machinery – I don’t mind the man made perch in this case. Black Dirt, this one if from a couple weeks back, 07/29/17.~ 
~The Little Blue Heron at Liberty Loop continues through today. This shot was taken on Friday, 08/11/17.~

Uppy Update, 08/07/17

~One of 2 UPLAND SANDPIPERS in the Black Dirt, 08/07/17.~

After work today, I went out in the rain and checked the Black Dirt for shorebirds. Right where I had a single Upland Sandpiper last Wednesday, today I located a pair of them. The big difference is that this time around the birds were pretty close to the road, AND I had my camera, so I was able to get some decent shots. I put the word out and Linda Scrima was able to join me.

We photographed the birds from our cars for a while, until I saw a white bird fly across one of the fields. I jumped out of my car and snapped some shots. It was a swallow of some sort; I am guessing leucistic rather than albino since there was hints of brown on the underside of the bird. It was flying with a single Barn Swallow, so I am guessing that it might be one as well. Any thoughts on the ID of this swallow, please comment.

~Uppy in the Black Dirt, 08/07/17.~ 
~A shot of both UPLAND SANDPIPERS together. Black Dirt, 08/07/17.~
~Unidentified swallow in the Black Dirt – possibly a Barn Swallow? ~
~Uni Swallow, Black Dirt 08/07/17.~
~One more of the uni swallow, blurry but showing the tail. Black Dirt 08/07/17.~ 

Orange County LITTLE BLUE HERON, 08/05/17

~Excellent bird for the county – the LITTLE BLUE HERON feeds in the pool in front of the viewing platform at the Liberty Loop, 08/05/17.~ 

QUICK POST: This morning I ran to Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge’s Liberty Marsh to see the juvenile LITTLE BLUE HERON that Linda Scrima had relocated (the bird was originally reported to eBird yesterday by Ken Witkowski). Linda had put the word out, so several other local birders also got to see the bird: Joyce DePew, Kathy Ashman, Karen Miller, John Haas, and Scotty Baldinger were all present as some point while I was there. The bird spent most of it’s time conveniently right in front of the viewing platform, out maybe 75 feet or so. It did relocate a couple of time and at one point it came back to the pool in front of the viewing platform; as it came in, it snagged a large frog mid-flight! I’ve never seen a wader do that before! Check out the bottom pic in this post to see it. Huge thanks to Linda for finding the bird and for getting the word out. More good OC birding!

~LBHE in flight, coming back to the pool in front of the Liberty Loop viewing platform, 08/05/17.~ 
~LBHE at Wallkill River NWR’s Liberty Marsh, 08/05/17.~ 
~Little Blue Heron with prey – a large frog that it snagged mid-flight! Wow! Liberty Marsh, 08/05/17.~ 

Happy Birthday!….

~Digiscoped shot of the Upland Sandpiper in the Black Dirt, 08/20/17.~

…to me! This evening, on my 48th birthday, I located my 200th bird of the year in Orange County – an UPLAND SANDPIPER! The heavy rains this afternoon cancelled my golf game, so I headed to the black dirt to look for birds. Honestly, my expectations were low, but when I located this uppy, I was totally thrilled. What an excellent bird for #200! Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me, so I relied on digiscoping to document the bird. I watched the bird for a good while, and having put the word out, eventually Dick Riley and Karen Miller both showed up to get the bird. Good OC birding!

~The bird was certainly wary of predators and spent a good amount of time hunkered down. UPSA in the Black Dirt, 08/02/17.~

FOY Black-crowned Night-Heron, 07/28/17

~Digiscoped shot of one of the two juvenile BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS at the Liberty Loop this evening, 07/28/17.~

I met Linda Scrima out at the Liberty Loop viewing platform just after 7:00 this evening. My goal was to try to finally get my first BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON of the year in Orange County. Early on, Linda located some small shorebirds way in the back of the pool in front of the view platform. I got on them with my scope and we had 4 Least Sandpipers, and my first PECTORAL SANDPIPER of the fall migration. A little later, we had nearly twenty Great Egrets pick up from the southernmost part of the loop and relocated into some nearby trees, presumably to roost. And then, not too long after that, we had a single distant BCNH flying high on the east side of the loop, followed by a second one that flew from the middle of the marsh, straight towards the viewing platform and eventually settled in behind some vegetation a little ways out in the pool in front of the platform. I didn’t even try to take photos with my camera, but I was able to get a few decent looking digiscoped shots of the bird. I typically see this bird earlier in the year (I had my first in the month of June, three of the last four years). The BCNHs were my 199th bird in Orange County so far this year.

Wow, Orange County SNOWY EGRET!

 

~SNOWY EGRET at 6 1/2 Station Road’s Citgo Pond, 07/24/17.~

Put the summer doldrums on hold for a minute! With last night’s rainfall, I was optimistic that we might get a good bird today. Kyle Dudgeon and I were only half-joking about the outside possibility of a Roseate Spoonbill, since they’ve had one in New Jersey recently. Then I received a text from Linda Scrima – with an attached eBird report for a SNOWY EGRET at Citgo Pond, reported by a Kevin McGann at 8:23 this morning! I met Linda there after work to check it out; we were doubtful that the report would be accurate, not knowing Kevin McGann and having been burned on several inaccurate SNEG reports in recent years. We walked out to the pond, and sure enough there was a SNOWY EGRET! We put out the word and several birders were able to come join us in viewing the bird. Other highlights included hearing a Cooper’s Hawk calling from the trees (only my second time hearing the “kac, kac, kac” call), my first Lesser Yellowlegs in a couple of weeks, 10 (!) Green Herons, and a Red Fox on the far side of the shore, located by Kathy Ashman and Karen Miller.

~The bird was actively feeding and seemed to be successful. SNEG at Citgo Pond, 07/24/17.~

Staying Local

~Green Heron at Citgo Pond, 07/20/17.~

I’ve had a busy week, so I spent most of my birding time this week staying local. I went to 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary’s Citgo Pond several times; I have mostly been trying for shorebirds since conditions at the pond have been perfect. Although there has been good number of shorebirds present, the variety has been lacking: Least Sandpipers (30+), Semipalmated Sandpipers (2), Solitary Sandpipers (2), and Killdeer (12+).

~One of the two Semipalmated Sandpipers that I’ve had at Citgo Pond this week, 07/17/17.~

The trail and the pond have been birdy and I’ve been averaging 25-30 species of bird each visit, all expected species. Highlights include nine (!) Green Herons in a single visit. I also saw my first Blue-gray Gnatcatchers in ages and there are many young birds around (Song Sparrow, Eastern Kingbird, Marsh Wren, Common Yellowthroat, Tufted Titmouse…). So, while the birding has been decent, I am ready for some more significant shorebird movement, which hopefully isn’t too far away. Here’s several shots from the week, enjoy.

~All week I’ve been hearing the “whit” call of a couple of Willow Flycatchers on the trail out to the Citgo Pond. Today I finally got a good look and some photos, 07/23/17.~
~Yellow Warbler at Citgo Pond, 07/22/17.~ 
~Young Song Sparrow at Citgo Pond Trail, 07/20/17.~

 

Wow! Orange County WHITE IBIS!

~One of the 5 White Ibis at Wickham Lake this evening, 07/16/17.~ 

QUICK POST: Well, Rob Stone strikes again. This evening he somehow managed to relocate the five immature WHITE IBIS that had been reported in Orange County earlier this week, but had not been seen for several days (I thought those birds were long gone!). I, of course, ran for the birds and when I arrived, Rob got me on them immediately. They appeared to be getting ready to roost in the treetops on the shore of Wickham Lake. I have to say that seeing WHIB, in Orange County, in the treetops, just blew me away. It was so awesome! Linda Scrima showed up shortly after I did, and then Curt McDermott and Karen Miller not long after her. Curt had been Kayaking at Glenmere Lake, so he had his kayak. I was really excited when he pretty much insisted that I get the first run in the kayak to get some photographs while the light was still good. I paddled out and got great looks at the two birds at the very top of the trees and, of course, clicked away. Huge thanks to Rob for relocating the birds and to Curt for the kayak. What a night!

~Two WHITE IBIS yucking it up in the treetops on the shore of Wickham Lake, 07/16/17.~ 

Sunday Shots, 07/09/17

~A very cooperative Green Heron at the Citgo Pond, 07/07/17.~

QUICK POST: I got out several times this weekend; most of my birding was relatively uneventful with the exception of getting my first shorebirds of the fall migration – 5 LEAST SANDPIPERS at the Citgo Pond on Friday afternoon. I went back this afternoon and the only shorebirds present was a half dozen Killdeer. Here’s several shots from the weekend.

~It’s been ages since I’ve posted any Prairie Warbler shots, and now I’ve posted in two straight posts. This bird was at Mount Peter Hawkwatch – I stopped there on my way home from work on Friday, 0707/17  to grab an ice cream, yummmm. 
~One of five Least Sandpipers at Citgo Pond on Friday, 07/07/17. This bird absolutely refused to turn and face me, so I had to settle on getting a shot as it preened.~ 
~One of about a dozen Killdeer at Citgo Pond, 07/07/17.~
~This Green Heron was freaking out when a Killdeer did a close fly-by; it made its posture as big as possible, when previously it was down low in a stalking posture. Citgo Pond, 07/07/17.~
~I photographed 2 Green Herons at Citgo Pond on 07/07/17; I thought the coloring on this bird was beautiful.~ 
~Three Bald Eagles, including one bathing in the Delaware River. Shot looking down from Hawk’s Nest, 07/08/17.~ 

Wow! Orange County Forster’s Tern!

 

 

 

 

~A beautiful FORSTER’S TERN at the Liberty Loop this evening, 07/01/17.~

QUICK POST: Huge thanks to Linda Scrima, who contacted me tonight to let me know she had a FORSTER’S TERN at Wallkill River NWR’s Liberty Loop. I jumped into the car and ran for the bird, and WOW, what a beautiful bird! It was perched on the measuring pole just to the left of the viewing platform, which made for a great photo op. I’ve never had FOTE in Orange County before, so this is OC bird #243 for me! Very exciting!