Wow, Orange County YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON!

This is a really great story. Fellow Mearns Bird Club member Joyce Depew has an eight year old grandson named Ben. And, Ben has been into birds since he was 4 years old. Well, today, while Joyce and Ben were driving on Van Burenville Road in Middletown, from the back seat Ben told Joyce that he thought he saw a Green Heron in a pond in someone’s yard. Joyce pulled over and backed up to get a look, and what did she see? A YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON! Can you imagine? According to Ken McDermott, this is only the third record of this species in Orange County, so it is quite a find! Nice job Ben and Joyce!

~Yellow-crowned Night-Heron with a fresh catch, Middletown NY 04/15/19. Photo by Linda Scrima.~

I ran for the bird after work and was happy to see that it was still present. I snapped some quick photos to document, but because it is a residential area, I didn’t want to linger too long. Linda Scrima was kind enough to provide a couple better shots from earlier in the day, where the bird is being more cooperative and not looking in the wrong direction.

~And down the hatch! YCNH in Middletown, NY 01/14/19. Photo by Linda Scrima.~
~Black-crowned Night-Heron looking the wrong way, lol. Middletown, NY 01/14/19.~

Excellent Morning, 04/14/19

Birding bud Bruce Nott invited me to join him out at Stewart State Forrest’s Route 207 Marsh this morning. We met up at the marsh just after 7:00 am and we had a great morning. My number one goal was to see some OC shorebirds, and we did pretty well with 5 species:

  • Lesser Yellowlegs (3)
  • Greater Yellowlegs (1)
  • Wilson’s Snipe (25)
  • Killdeer (6)
  • Solitary Sandpiper (4)
~Eastern Phoebe at the 207 Marsh, 04/14/19.~

Unexpectedly, at least to me, we also did pretty well with warblers, with four species.

  • Yellow-rumped Warbler (4)
  • Palm Warbler (2)
  • Pine Warbler (2)
  • Louisiana Waterthrush(1)
~A nice look at one of the 2 Palm Warblers we had today at the 207 Marsh, 04/14/19.~

It was super birding all morning; the birds were abundant and active, Bruce is just awesome to hang out with, and in the end we had a total 43 species. I added 10 Orange County year birds, which is nice too:

  1. Blue-winged Teal
  2. Barn Swallow
  3. Lesser Yellowlegs
  4. Greater Yellowlegs
  5. Solitary Sandpiper
  6. RUSTY BLACKBIRD
  7. Pine Warbler
  8. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  9. Louisiana Waterthrush
  10. Palm Warbler
~Lousy pic, but I was happy to see this Pine Warbler. Route 207 Marsh, 04/14/19.~
~Wood Duck on a nice perch at the 207 Marsh, 04/14/19.~
~Documentary shot of a distant Lesser Yellowlegs. All the shorebirds were distant, but still so good to see them. 207 Marsh, 04/14/19.~

Sunday Shots, 04/07/19

I got out this morning and hit several southern Orange County lakes – Glenmere, Wickham, Greenwood, Walton, and Round. These days I have several birds on my mind that I’m hoping for: Loons, Long-tailed Ducks, Scoters, Grebes, Caspian Tern, and Bonaparte’s Gull. I did well with Common Loons, finding them at 3 locations – Wickham, Greenwood, and Walton Lakes. Besides that, the only success I had was 2 Horned Grebes at Wickham Lake, in beautiful breeding plumage (boy do I wish those birds were closer to shore!). I also made a brief stop in the black dirt, hoping for shorebirds (I’d had 30+ Wilson’s Snipe and several Killdeer at Lynch Avenue a couple of times earlier this week – birds originally located by Bruce Nott, I believe). It was a gorgeous but relatively uneventful morning of birding; I did, however, manage to get a few shots.

~Northern Flicker at Greenwood Lake, 04/07/19.~
~It’s not very often I can get a decent Common Loon shot locally. This bird was at Walton Lake and surprisingly was spending some time right near the shore, 04/07/19.~
~Common Loon at Walton Lake, 04/07/19.~
~One final loon pic – COLO at Walton Lake, 04/07/19.~
~This cracked me up because this Fish Crow was actually all the way inside this garbage container out at Wickham Lake, 04/07/19. Anything for a quick meal, I suppose.~
~I counted 88 Ring-billed Gulls in this group in the black dirt, 04/07/19.~

Saturday, 04/06/19

Today was an interesting day for me. I had plans to play my first round of golf of the year at 10 am, so I got up early and made stops at both Glenmere Lake and Wickham Lake. Glenmere had a good number of waterfowl present – mostly Buffleheads and Ring-necked Ducks. My best bird there was a Red-necked Grebe, I’m not sure if this is the same bird that’s been there for a while or if it’s a new bird. At Wickham the birds were a little more sparse, but I did have an up close Horned Grebe as well as 2 distant birds that I believe were Red-necked Grebes. The distance, backlighting, and fog prevented a definitive ID; I wanted to get back this evening, but I never made it (see below).

~So far Horned Grebe is the only waterfowl I’ve gotten any decent shots of this spring migration. This dude was at Wickham Lake, 04/06/19.~

After golf, I stopped by the Newburgh on my way home. I birded Kowawese Unique Area at Plum Point, and I made several stops along the Newburgh Waterfront. Unfortunately, I found way more people than birds, so I scrammed. I made a quick stop at Lake Washington, where I found a dozen scaup way out in the lake. They were all tucked in, but from what I could tell, they looked like Lesser Scaup. From there I headed to Brown’s Pond. I was going to just make a quick stop, but the birding was good enough that I stayed for a good while (preventing me from getting back to Wickham Lake). There was a beautiful Horned Grebe in breeding plumage – distant but I enjoyed some incredible scope views of that bird. I had 9 species of waterfowl, but it was the Bald Eagles that stole the show. There was a trio of young Bald Eagles flying around the lake; I saw one fishing, but mostly they seemed to be enjoying terrorizing the ducks and tangling with one anther. I sat on a bank and enjoyed the show; taking pictures whenever they came close enough.

~Bald Eagle at Brown’s Pond, 04/06/19.~
~Sibling rivalry? Two young Bald Eagles mixing it up at Brown’s Pond, 04/06/19.~
~A young Bald Eagle fishing at Brown’s Pond, 04/06/19.~
~Tree Swallow at Wickham Lake early this morning, 04/06/19.~
~This one is from Tuesday after work – Common Goldeneye with 2 Buffleheads at the small pond near Glenmere Lake, 04/02/19.~
~Also from earlier this week, a Double-crested Cormorant in flight at Wickham Lake, 04/02/19.~