Sterling Valley Loop, 06/03/18

~Blue-winged Warble singing its heart out. Sterling Valley Loop, 06/03/18.~ 

I usually like to post on Sunday nights, or at least once over the weekend, but last night I was having some computer issues, so this post had to wait until today.

I got a nice early start on Sunday morning. I headed to Sterling Forest State Park, where I was going to walk the Sterling Valley Loop, an eight mile hike that I have done several times and is typically quite birdy. I use the end of Ironwood Drive as the trailhead, which is nice as that spot is usually very active with birds, particularly with Blue-winged and Golden-winged Warblers. I was surprised by the number of cars in the parking area and by the number of birders and photographers lingering around the power cut. This made me switch gears a little bit, and instead of birding the area before heading on the trail, I hit the trail immediately (not to worry, I picked up BWWA and GWWA out on the trail).

~How cute is this little dude? Young Louisiana Waterthrush at Sterling Valley Loop, 06/03/18.~ 

You don’t go on a hike like this, at this time of year, especially in the overcast conditions we were having on Sunday, expecting to see and photograph all that many birds. Large stretches of the trail were flat out dark (ISO set to 4000+), and much of my birding was done by ear with the occasional nice surprise of tracking down a bird. I feel like I really appreciate seeing birds so much more when they are harder to come by. I began to rack up the number of species and individuals. The most numerous species were likely American Redstarts and Red-eyed Vireos. Highlights included: hearing a remarkable 6 ACADIAN FLYCATCHERS hearing both species of cuckoo and seeing my first BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO of the year, hearing 4 CERULEAN WARBLERS and finally being able to track one down for at least a documentary photograph, and watching a young Cedar Waxwing get fed by and adult. The best moment of the day came when a young LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH landed on a branch just off the trail to my left. This bird was so stinkin’ cute!

I ended the hike with what I thought was a respectable 56 species. You can see my complete list of species here.

~All spring I’ve been hearing Cerulean Warblers at Sterling Forest SP. I FINALLY tracked one down on the Sterling Valley Loop, 06/03/18.~ 

6 thoughts on “Sterling Valley Loop, 06/03/18”

  1. They are all so cute! Just looking at the pictures makes me happy. Wow, what a list! I’m also having problems with my computer. I’m being asked to fill out my name, etc. and to subscribe! So I did, or it wouldn’t post my comment. But then when I did, I was informed that I already subscribed.

  2. The BWWA is simply stunning, Matt, but the juvenile Louisiana Waterthrush is just too cute for words.

    1. Thanks Kathy. I can’t take the cuteness – look at that little backside! I am surprised at all the love the BWWA pic is getting – I will have to take another look at it… Matt

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