I got out briefly this morning in the rain and fog and managed to get a few shots of the above light morph Rough-legged Hawk. This bird was located on Jessup Switch Road in Goshen, but I initially went out to Indiana Road where I had five RLHAs yesterday evening (2 dark morphs and 3 light).
Rob Stone texted me this afternoon to let me know he had located four GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE on Onion Avenue in New Hampton, NY. When I got there later in the afternoon, just after 4 pm, I could only locate one GWFG among approximately 1200 Canada Geese. I spoke to John Haas after I had left, and he let me know that while he was there, a total of five Greater White-fronted Geese were present. Huge thanks to both Rob and John, what a “great” way to make my day!
Just a couple of quick notes: In the afternoon I had a flock of approximately 60 Snow Buntings on MIssionland Road. Also present were a couple of smaller flocks of Horned Larks, one of which had 5 Snow Buntings in it. In the morning, I made it out to Lippincott Road and had 10 Common Goldeneyes. Thanks to Ken McDermott for posting about them, they were great fun to see. They were a bit distant for photos, but here is one shot:
When I woke up this morning, the thermometer read zero degrees Fahrenheit. With this information in hand, I decided it would be best to bird by car today. So I did a driving tour of the Black Dirt Region, hitting many of the usual spots: Pumpkin Swamp Road, Skinner Lane, Mt. Eve Road, Big Island Road, Missionland Road, Scenic Farms Golf Course, and Wallkill River NWR. Raptors were plentiful, I had eight (!!!) Rough-legged Hawks, one American Kestrel, four Northern Harriers, and I lost count of how many Red-tailed Hawks I saw (at least 15?).
I had two small flocks of Horned Larks at Skinner Lane and at Missionland Road I had a larger flock of about 50 HOLAs that included a single SNOW BUNTING. White-throated Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos were a constant roadside bird throughout the morning, Song Sparrows were also seen in lesser numbers, and I had a pair of WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS at Skinner Lane. I ran into the Antonys (fellow Mearnsers) on Mt. Eve Road where they also had WCSPs.
I took advantage of the snow day today by snowshoeing down the Heritage Trail that borders 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary. It was a pretty cold journey, but it was nice to get out and see some birds. I did not see anything out of the ordinary, just a good showing of many of the expected birds. Here’s my list:
This post is a few days late, but I did not have time to get it together before now. For my final outing of 2013, I made it out to Rye, New York. I knew that Rye was considered a good birding location, but I had never been there before. I turned to John Haas, who provided me with the lay of the land. He let me know there are three good spots to bird in Rye – Read Wildlife Sanctuary, Rye Town Park, and the Marshlands Conservancy. All three places are really easy to get to, close to one another, and most importantly, very birdy. I had a total of 40 species for the day, and I made out particularly well with water birds, identifying 15 species, including my favorite of the day, two Long-tailed Ducks, which were seen at a great distance from Rye Town Park. Water birds I was hoping for which I missed out on were: Brant, Common Loon, and Great Cormorant.
I think what I enjoyed most about the day was the variety of birding that was available. At both the Read Wildlife Sanctuary and the Marshlands Conservancy, I birded the woods and trails while also looking out for water birds. At Read, you can bird both the Long Island Sound and Playland Lake from the road into the sanctuary. At the Marshlands Conservancy, there is a great trail that borders along Milton Harbor. I did well with passerines at both locations; a Fox Sparrow at Read and a total of 6 Carolina Wrens for the day were highlights.
I found it interesting that I did not have any raptors while I was there. I was hoping for Purple Sandpipers, but the only shorebirds I had for the day was this group of Dunlin, which seemed to appear out of thin air:
I highly recommend taking a trip to Rye for some birding; I had a super day of birding. If you are interested in more details on how to get around in the area, leave a message and I will get the information to you. Finally, I decided to try something a little different with my species list for the day: