This morning I met John Haas out in Sullivan County and we birded Wolf Brook Multi-use Area and Neversink Unique area. We left my car at Katrina Falls Road Access and then took John’s car to the Wolf Brook Access. We hiked approximately 4 1/2 miles back to my car and I have to say that this place is loaded with birds. If you threw a rock you would certainly hit an Eastern Towhee as they were present in high numbers. Here’s a distant shot of a young towhee:
One highlight for me was seeing a mother Common Merganser with two young on the Neversink River. Our look was distant and partially obstructed, so no photos of those birds. Worth mentioning is that we did really well with warblers, with 12 species:
Yellow Warbler Pine Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler Prairie Warbler
Magnolia Warbler Black-and-white Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler American Redstart
Black-throated Green Warbler Ovenbird
Blackburnian Warbler Common Yellowthroat
As birdy as the walk was, the best part of the hike was certainly seeing the falls. At about 30 feet high, they are really spectacular to see and my photos don’t do justice in the slightest. Also, it is wonderfully cool with a nice mist coming off the falls, accompanied with small rainbows. It’s really a great experience and I recommend it highly.
I want to thank John for showing me this great hike, one that I will surely take for years to come, and also for all his help identifying birds by ear today. As we walked, I wondered from time to time just how many birds I would be able to identify if I was doing it on my own? I guess I’ll find out next time….
I made it out briefly this evening to the trail on the Route 17M side of 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary and got some shots of young Wood Ducks.
Another hightlight for me was a Least Flycatcher which I was able to identify by its “whitt” call. I was not able to get any good photos, but here’s a soft shadowy shot along with my list for the afternoon:
Canada Goose 35
Mute Swan 2
Wood Duck 10
Great Blue Heron 2
Belted Kingfisher 1
Least Flycatcher 1
Eastern Kingbird 4
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 10
Tree Swallow 8
Marsh Wren 6
American Robin 5
Gray Catbird 4
Northern Mockingbird 1
European Starling 5
Cedar Waxwing 6
Yellow Warbler 2
Song Sparrow 4
Swamp Sparrow 8
Red-winged Blackbird X
Common Grackle X
Brown-headed Cowbird 1
I only got out for an hour this morning – I met Karen Miller and Maria Loukeris at 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary. The highlight of this short outing was definitely watching a group of young Northern Rough-winged Swallows being fed by a couple of adults. Thanks to Karen who located the birds – this is the second NRWS photo opportunity this year that I have her to thank for!
I woke up early on this rainy Independence Day and walked the Liberty Loop at the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge. It rained on and off as I walked the loop, but it was quite birdy with high numbers of many of the expected species. The highlight of the morning, however, was not bird related. I was walking the east side of the loop and I saw a skunk up ahead on the trail. It was very white and I believe it is likely the same skunk that I photographed at the same location back in March. I hustled to try to catch up to the skunk and at some point I realized that the skunk was actually heading towards me, rather than away, and that it had something in its mouth – a young skunk! I stepped off the trail and waited. The pair of skunks got pretty close before the adult (mother?) went off trail with her kit still in her grasp. I moved ahead quickly, thinking that she wanted to continue down the trail but didn’t because of my presence, but she never reemerged. I continued along the east side of the trail and saw two more skunk kits on the trail in the distance. In my binoculars I could see no movement; I thought something had happened and they were both dead. Once I reached them, I realized that I was mistaken, they were both fine. I snapped a few pictures of the kits and I was checking behind me to see if the mother was coming back for them. I moved past the kits to a safe distance and the mother eventually did come back. I watched as the she collected one of them and then headed back the way she came. I did not stay to watch her pick up the third kit, but I was thinking that I was happy it was a rainy morning and that she would not likely be disturbed again this morning as she relocated her kits.
As far as the birding went, I had a nice morning seeing the expected birds and I totaled 29 species for the day. My best bird for the day was a young Red-bellied Woodpecker, a bird that I’ve never seen before:
It was an enjoyable morning for me, I have been busy lately so I haven’t gotten out as much. I am finding that I appreciate getting out much more at times like this. Here is my list for the morning: