I went out this morning with the main goal of trying to get some cuckoo photos. I think both cuckoos that we get in the area (Yellow-billed and Black-billed) are fascinating birds; such large beautiful birds with exotic calls that I somehow never saw or heard my whole life until the last few years. My first stop was at the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge Winding Waters Trail, where Linda Scrima had located a Yellow-billed Cuckoo the night before. On my way out on the trail I heard a YBCU but did not see it. On my way back I located the bird easily when it called from a stand of bare trees. Huge thanks to Linda for the heads up, here is a shot of that bird:
Afterwards, I headed over to the Liberty Loop to meet up with Maria Loukeris. We walked the loop; I was hoping for some shorebirds somewhere along the way. Shorebirds were not in abundance (Semipalmated Plover-2, Greater Yellowlegs-2, Spotted Sandpiper-1, Solitary Sandpiper-1, and Maria saw what were likely the Semipalmated Sandpipers that I had out there the other night- maybe 20 of them?). The poor showing of shorebirds was more than made up for by a pair of cooperative Yellow-billed Cuckoos in the southwest corner of the loop, right in the area of the eagle’s nest. I believe this was the first time Maria had seen YBCU, and we both took many photos. My best effort is at the top of this post.