Fourth of July Birding

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~I got a nice look at this Veery as I pulled into the Main Boat Launch at the Bashakill this morning, 7/416.~

This morning, I joined forces with John Haas and we birded the Bashakill Wildlife Management Area by kayak. We had a very enjoyable paddle with a decent number of birds (32 species), but we had no luck finding our target bird, the Least Bittern. I’m not sure at what point a bird becomes a nemesis bird, but I am certainly starting to think Least Bittern is officially a nemesis bird for me.

In spite of dipping on the LEBI, it was a fun morning of birding. It is awesome to bird with John, he is really great company and an absolute wealth of birding knowledge; every time I bird with him, I learn so much. Plus we did alright with some of the more expected birds: Eastern Kingbirds were numerous and seemed to be at every bend in the channel, we heard at least 10 Common Gallinules, saw 2 Belted Kingfishers, and we got really great looks at one adult and two young Bald Eagles.

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~A Bald Eagle chick perched over the channel. The young eagles were still begging the adults for a handout, which did not seem to be forthcoming. Bashakill, 7/4/16.~

In the afternoon, I received a call from Ken McDermott; he had a SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER at the viewing platform at Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge. I jumped into the car and made my way out there, but unfortunately the bird had flown north shortly before my arrival. Ken also had a Lesser Yellowlegs a little earlier, which had also moved on. So, I joined Ken and Maria Loukeris (who had also run for and missed the SBDO) for a while and we had an interesting afternoon/evening of birding. Shorebird highlights included Spotted Sandpiper (2), Solitary Sandpiper (2), Least Sandpiper (4), and many Killdeer, including 4 chicks. Other than shorebirds, we had many Great Blue Herons, several Green Herons, Cedar Waxwings, and one of the last birds of the day was an adult Bald Eagle that flew directly over the platform. The 2 Great Egrets that I had there earlier in the week were nowhere to be seen. All in all, a good day of birding, with the promise that shorebird migration is already underway! Huge thanks to Ken for the call.

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~Great Blue Heron in flight a Wallkill River NWR, this shot was from Saturday, 7/2/16.~ 
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~Killdeer chick in the muck at Wallkill River NWR, 7/4/16.~ 
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~Solitary Sandpiper at Wallkill River NWR, 7/4/16.~ 
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~Also from a couple days ago, Great Egret with a snack at Wallkill River NWR, 7/2/16.~ 

4 thoughts on “Fourth of July Birding”

  1. Thanks for the great morning Matt! Sorry you missed the Dowitcher. More should be coming in soon. I’ll try for the next one to show up, maybe even at Six and a Half Station Road.

    1. It’s pretty exciting to have shorebirds moving through already! Fingers crossed that 6 1/2 will be good this fall. Matt

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