Green Heron – First of Season

On my way to the bank this afternoon I spotted my first Green Heron of the season at the small pond right around the corner from our house. I know I say this about a lot of birds,  but Green Herons really are one of my favorite birds; I look forward to a summer of having them at that pond.

First Green Heron of the season for me, Goshen NY 4/27/13.
First Green Heron of the season for me, Goshen NY 4/27/13.

Sandhill Crane At Wallkill River NWR

On Monday evening, Herb Stein posted that he had seen two Sandhill Cranes and a Glossy Ibis out at Wallkill River NWR. I always enjoy walking the Liberty Loop, so today I went to see what I could find. It was a nice warm evening, a little bit windy, but very pleasant. It made for a nice afternoon of birding. I had 23 species during my walk, with two highlights. The best bird of the night was definitely a single SANDHILL CRANE. What a fabulous bird, I feel so lucky to have seen this bird and to have managed a couple of distant photos, which I have cropped:

Sandhill Crane at Wallkill River NWR 4-24-13.
Sandhill Crane at Wallkill River NWR 4-24-13.
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What a beautiful bird!

The second highlight for me was a DUNLIN in adult breeding plumage. This bird confounded me until I got home and looked it up. This bird was pretty far out, so here again is a distant photo that has been cropped:

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A Dunlin alongside a Greater Yellowlegs out at Wallkill River NWR 4-24-13.

What a great night of birding! Many thanks to Herb Stein for posting. Here’s my list for the evening:

Canada Goose  X
Mute Swan  4
Wood Duck  1
Mallard  X
Northern Shoveler  1
Green-winged Teal  8
Great Blue Heron  5
Turkey Vulture  1
Northern Harrier  1
Bald Eagle  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Sandhill Crane  1     First reported by H Stein
Killdeer  8
Spotted Sandpiper  1
Greater Yellowlegs  5
Dunlin  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Blue Jay  1
American Crow  X
Eastern Bluebird  1
American Robin  X
Song Sparrow  1
Red-winged Blackbird  X

 

 

Long Island 4-19-13

I guess it is a busy time of year, both in real life and in my birding life. I have managed to get out birding, but it has been harder to find the time to write posts about it. On Friday I had some work on Long Island, so I decided to stay the night with my sister Meghan and her husband Tim. After my appointments I went up to Lloyd Harbor to do some birding. I stopped at West Neck Beach briefly and got some good looks at a flock of Brandt and took some photos of a cooperative Great Egret:

Great Egret at West Neck Beach in Lloyd Harbor NY, 4-19-13.
Great Egret at West Neck Beach in Lloyd Harbor NY, 4-19-13.

 

I then continued up to Target Rock NWR, which was a nice spot and fun to explore but relatively few birds were present. I did get a nice look at a couple of Little Blue Herons (a life bird for me!) and several Snowy Egrets.

A juvenile Little Blue Heron at Target Rock NWR, 4-19-13.
A juvenile Little Blue Heron at Target Rock NWR, 4-19-13.
Snowy Egret and Little Blue Heron at Target Rock NWR, 4-19-13.
Snowy Egret and Little Blue Heron at Target Rock NWR, 4-19-13.

I only stayed at Target Rock for a short time; I was going to meet Meghan at Heckscher Park in Huntington. There had been a Tufted Duck at the pond there for quite some time. On my way back I stopped on the road where I had 10 Long-tailed Ducks (out too far for photos), a couple of Osprey and many Greater Yellowlegs.

An Osprey stretches its wings. Lloyd Harbor NY, 4-19-13.
An Osprey stretches its wings. Lloyd Harbor NY, 4-19-13.
Osprey in flight, Lloyd Harbor NY, 4-19-13.
Osprey in flight, Lloyd Harbor NY, 4-19-13.
Osprey on a wire with what I am pretty sure is a goldfish! Lloyd Harbor NY, 4-19-13.
Osprey on a wire with what I am pretty sure is a goldfish! Lloyd Harbor NY, 4-19-13.

 

 

 

I kind of like this shot of three Greater Yellowlegs, which seemed to be everywhere in Lloyd Harbor.
I kind of like this shot of three Greater Yellowlegs, which seemed to be everywhere in Lloyd Harbor.

We did not locate the Tufted Duck at Heckscher Park, but we did have a good look at an Osprey looking for fish in the pond, many Double Crested Cormorants, and this leucistic Canada Goose that was causing a ruckus:

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On Saturday, Tim and I played golf at Bergen Point Golf Course on the south shore of Long Island. I had my camera with me but I did not manage to get any photos of the many Osprey that where fishing in the ponds on the course. It was a short but sweet visit to Long Island with good birding too!

 

 

 

 

Monday, Monday 4-15-13

I had a really nice afternoon of birding after work on Monday. The weather was nice, cool and sunny. My first stop was at Glenmere Lake to see if anything interesting had come in. There was still a pretty good collection of waterfowl present, including Green-winged Teal, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, many Bufflehead, and the highlight was definitely a  a single TUNDRA SWAN floating with a group of Mute Swans. 

Here is an shot of the Tundra Swan on its own, though it spent most of the time with a group of Mute Swans. Glenmere Lake 4/15/13.
Here is an shot of the Tundra Swan on its own, though it spent most of the time with a group of Mute Swans. Glenmere Lake 4/15/13.

Afterwards, I headed over to my favorite spot, Wallkill River NWR, to walk the Liberty Loop. There was plenty of activity there; I spent most of my time looking at waterfowl and shorebirds. I struggled with the shorebirds as usual, but it was a lot of fun getting my first good dose of shorebirds for the year. I ended up with 28 species, and it was really nice to just walk the loop and enjoy being outside.

A couple of Blue-winged Teals come in for a landing. Wallkill River NWR 4-15-13.
A couple of Blue-winged Teals come in for a landing. Wallkill River NWR 4-15-13.

Mute Swan  X
Wood Duck  2
Mallard  4
Blue-winged Teal  8
Northern Shoveler  10
Northern Pintail  1
Green-winged Teal  X
Bufflehead  1
Great Blue Heron  7
Turkey Vulture  5
Northern Harrier  2
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Killdeer  5
Solitary Sandpiper  1
Greater Yellowlegs  8
Lesser Yellowlegs  2
Pectoral Sandpiper  8
Wilson’s Snipe  22
Mourning Dove  3
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
American Kestrel  1
Peregrine Falcon  1
American Crow  X
Black-capped Chickadee  1
American Robin  X
Song Sparrow  X
Red-winged Blackbird  X
Common Grackle  X

This is one of the better shots I've gotten of a Green-winged Teal. There is much less water out at the reserve right now so I think the birds were more likely to stay put as I approached.
This is one of the better shots I’ve gotten of a Green-winged Teal. There is much less water out at the reserve right now so I think the birds were more likely to stay put as I approached.
Greater Yellowlegs at Wallkill River NWR, 4-15-13.
Greater Yellowlegs at Wallkill River NWR, 4-15-13.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wallkill River NWR – Looking For Black-crowned Night-Herons

Black-crowned Night-Heron at Walllkill River WR

I made it out to Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge before sunrise THREE times this week in hopes of finally getting some Black-crowned Night-Heron photos. I identified 37 species of birds (and one really cute mammal) in those three days. Here’s a short list of favorites:

  • Double-crested Cormorant
  • Great Blue Herons(many!)
  • Great Egret
  • Green Heron
  • Black-crowned Night-Heron
  • Bald Eagle
  • Cooper’s Hawk
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Pectoral Sandpiper
  • Indigo Bunting
  • Bobolink

I finally got a pretty good look at both an adult and a juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron this morning, and it is thanks to John – a fellow birder I met out at the refuge this morning. He told me when he first arrived that he had never had any luck finding BCNH at this site. Moments later one flew right over our heads! He later found three BCNH in a couple of trees just off of the east side of the trail and he made sure I knew exactly where to find them. Thanks John!

I cropped this pretty heavily because I am amazed at the color of this bird’s eyes.
This is the best shot I could manage of this young Black-crowned Night-Heron. I love the markings on this bird!
I thought this was a beautiful Red-winged Blackbird.
I am pretty sure this is a female Bobolink, though when I took the photo I thought it was a Red-winged Blackbird in the yellow early morning sun.
This Double-crested Cormorant landed in the water in front of the viewing platform for just long enough to get a couple photos before he was on his way…
I thought the light was really nice on this Canada Goose in flight.
Karen Miller found this little critter when we were out on Saturday morning. We found out later that it is an Ermine. In the winter it will have a white coat with a black nose! (Thanks for the info Gail).
A Green Heron on a wire. A first for me, though I saw it two times this week.
One more of the adult Black-crowned Night-Heron.

Basha Kill By Kayak II – 7/6/12

I made it back out to the Basha Kill early this morning and I had a little better luck this time around. I identified 25 species including a Pied-billed Grebe which I was able to get some photos of and I was lucky enough to see two Common Gallinules – a first for me. It was a beautiful morning with some excellent birding.

*Click on photos to enlarge*

Pied-billed Grebe at the Basha Kill.
Here is the grebe again, nearly completely submerged.
This Great Blue Heron had no idea I was there, it flew right at me and then over me to my left.
The same bird as it passes just to my left.
It was a beautiful morning and the moon was still very visible.
This Great Blue Heron was too involved in fishing to notice me floating by.
I know, enough of the Wood Duck duckling photos. But they are so darn cute!

 

Green Herons in Goshen – Shapeshifters?

Monday afternoon I sat hidden in the bushes by the pond near my house in Goshen, NY for over two hours. I know, strange behavior. Well actually, I was watching and photographing two Green Herons that were spending their afternoon there. The herons spent their time grooming, hunting, and just sitting. It was fascinating to see how these  birds can take on a variety of shapes and sizes depending on their behavior.

*Click on photos to enlarge*

 

Where’s Waldo?

Can you find the American Bittern?

The above photo of an American Bittern was taken at The Basha Kill Wildlife Management Area (http://www.thebashakill.org/aboutbk.htm) in Sullivan County, New York. The American Bittern is a fascinating bird that I have wanted to see for a while now. A couple of weeks ago I finally got a really good look at one. Much thanks to Scott Baldinger who posted the bird’s whereabouts and to Tricia for locating the bird in the field. American Bitterns are very secretive and their markings make an amazing camouflage. In addition to the markings, the bird moves very slowly and deliberately and will sometimes point his head straight up to blend with its surroundings. Here’s a close up of the same photo. You can see the Bittern creeping through the foliage.

Zoomed in and cropped you can see the American Bittern

Here are some more photos of the same bird:

GREEN HERON! First of the season.

Green Heron in a tree.

I went to the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge (http://www.fws.gov/northeast/wallkillriver/index.htm) today after work and found a Green Heron in a tree. I walked the Liberty Loop trail which is about 2 miles long. I was almost back to my car when I saw the heron fly in and land in a tree nearby. I was able to get the above photo, which I don’t love but it was the best I could do. It was a really nice walk with many birds – I was able to identify 24 species. Highlights for me:

  • (1) Green Heron
  • (3) Double Crested Cormorant
  • (1) Osprey – Hovering and fishing
  • (4) Lesser Yellowlegs
  • (2) Common Yellowthroat
  • (6) Yellow Warblers – Flying very close to me as if I was not there

Here’s a couple more photos from the day:

Common Yellowthroat
Lesser Yellowlegs

Looking For Green Herons

I have been running around lately trying to see a Green Heron. There are certain birds that just get in my head and I have to try and find them, right now it’s the Green Heron. At this time last year,  I had already seen several, but I’ve had no luck so far this year. I saw on eBird that a Green Heron had been sighted recently at The Celery Farm, which is a 107 acre freshwater wetland in Allendale, New Jersey. I made it out there yesterday – it is just ten minutes from my work. Many species of bird can be found there, I saw and identified seventeen, but I did not get my Green Heron:

  • Canada Goose
  • Mute Swan
  • Mallard
  • Wood Duck
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Great Egret
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Mourning Dove
  • American Crow
  • Tree Swallows
  • American Robin
  • Gray Catbird
  • Yellow Warbler
  • Song Sparrow
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Common Grackle
  • American Goldfinch

I did hear what I thought was a Red-shouldered Hawk when I first arrived, but I never saw the bird and I am not positive about the call. I spent just over an hour there and I saw my first Gray Catbirds and Yellow Warblers of the season. Here’s a Yellow Warbler singing:

Yellow Warbler Singing