Mt. Peter 9/21/13

-
-I have this as a Juvenile Broad-winged Hawk, Mt. Peter Hawk Watch 9/21/13.

Wow, today was a slow day at the hawk watch. Just one day after having over 2,700 migrating raptors, I had only 23 today. The good news is that the birds were flying a little lower so I was able to snap a few photos. Here is my report for the day:

Mount Peter
Warwick, New York, USA
Daily Raptor Counts: Sep 21, 2013
——————————————————————-

Species            Day’s Count    Month Total   Season Total
—————— ———– ————– ————–
Black Vulture                0              0              0
Turkey Vulture               0              0              0
Osprey                       0             81             81
Bald Eagle                   0             46             46
Northern Harrier             0             11             11
Sharp-shinned Hawk          16            208            208
Cooper’s Hawk                0             15             15
Northern Goshawk             0              0              0
Red-shouldered Hawk          1             18             18
Broad-winged Hawk            4           7109           7109
Red-tailed Hawk              0              5              5
Rough-legged Hawk            0              0              0
Golden Eagle                 0              0              0
American Kestrel             2             49             49
Merlin                       0              4              4
Peregrine Falcon             0              3              3
Unknown Accipiter            0              0              0
Unknown Buteo                0              3              3
Unknown Eagle                0              0              0
Unknown Falcon               0              1              1
Unknown Raptor               0             13             13

Total:                      23           7566           7566
———————————————————————-

Observation start time: 08:00:00
Observation end   time: 16:00:00
Total observation time: 8 hours

Official Counter:        Matt Zeitler

Observers:        Bill Connolly, Bill O’Keefe, Rob Stone

Visitors:
Lee Geiger, several families.

Weather:
It was a little cool and very cloudy in the morning but warm and partly
sunny in the afternoon. Temperatures ranged from 15 to 24 degrees Celsius.

Raptor Observations:
For migrating raptors we had one adult Red-shouldered Hawk, one male
American Kestrel, and one unknown American Kestrel. Non-migrating raptors
included Turkey Vultures, Black Vultures, Red-tailed Hawks (2) and a low
flying Coopers Hawk that passed 50 yards to the west of the platform, below
eye level, and darted into the trees.

Non-raptor Observations:
Non Raptor Species: American Goldfinch (1), Cedar Waxwing (15), Blue Jay
(20+), Canada Goose (1), Ruby-throated Hummingbird (1), and Chimney Swift
(13). Non-raptor highlight was a Common Loon to the west of the platform,
heading north.

9/18/13 and 9/19/13

This Belted Kingfisher was very cooperative, perching and fishing in the pond right in front of the viewing platform. Wallkill River NWR, 9/18/13.
This Belted Kingfisher was very cooperative, perching and fishing in the pond right in front of the viewing platform. Wallkill River NWR, 9/18/13.

Both yesterday and today I left work and spent an hour or so at Mt. Peter Hawk Watch. Yesterday I caught the tail end of a great day – over 1400 migrating raptors passed over. While I was there we had a large kettle of  fly over, comprised of over 160 Broad-winged Hawks and one immature Bald Eagle. It was really so cool to see. Today, although over 500 raptors were counted migrating over the watch, I did not fair too well. By the time I got there, things had pretty much dried up. I got a decent look at an immature Bald Eagle that did not migrate, but headed north instead. I also took a shot of one of the local Turkey Vultures, which seem to be the only birds flying low this year:

A bedraggled Turkey Vulture passes over the platform at Mt. Peter Hawk Watch, 9/19/13.
A bedraggled Turkey Vulture passes over the platform at Mt. Peter Hawk Watch, 9/19/13.

On both days, after the watch, I headed over to Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge. I mostly birded from the viewing platform both days, though I did walk west on the trail yesterday for a stretch. There were a good number of shorebirds present, including Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Pectoral Sandpipers, and a Solitary Sandpiper. Other favorites included Great Egrets, a Great Blue Heron, many Green Herons, a Northern Shoveler and a couple of Northern Harriers. But, the highlight for me was getting some good photo ops with this Belted Kingfisher:

It was great fun trying to shoot this bird, Belted Kingfisher out at Wallkill River NWR 9/18/13.
It was great fun trying to shoot this bird, Belted Kingfisher out at Wallkill River NWR 9/18/13.
A hovering Belted Kingfisher at Wallkill River NWR, 9/18/13.
A hovering Belted Kingfisher at Wallkill River NWR, 9/18/13.

 

Maybe it's because I haven't seen one in a little while, but I was not sure what bird this was for a while, until I got some help from a fellow birder who joined me on the platform. Solitary Sandpiper at Wallkill River NWR, 9/19/13.
Maybe it’s because I haven’t seen one in a little while, but I was not sure what bird this was for a while, until I got some help from a fellow birder who joined me on the platform. Solitary Sandpiper at Wallkill River NWR, 9/19/13.

Mt. Peter Hawk Watch

This Osprey flew right over the platform with a fish in its grasp. Mt. Peter Hawk Watch 9/14/13.
This Osprey flew right over the platform with a fish in its grasp. Mt. Peter Hawk Watch 9/14/13.

Today was my first day counting out at Mt. Peter Hawk Watch. It was a good day for me, we had enough hawks to keep it interesting, but not too many to make it difficult for me as the counter. The birds were flying high, but we had 200 migrating hawks today. Here is my report from hawkcount.org:

Mount Peter
Warwick, New York, USA
Daily Raptor Counts: Sep 14, 2013
——————————————————————-

Species            Day’s Count    Month Total   Season Total
—————— ———– ————– ————–
Black Vulture                0              0              0
Turkey Vulture               0              0              0
Osprey                      15             61             61
Bald Eagle                   3             29             29
Northern Harrier             0              8              8
Sharp-shinned Hawk          17             87             87
Cooper’s Hawk                1              7              7
Northern Goshawk             0              0              0
Red-shouldered Hawk          1              6              6
Broad-winged Hawk          156            870            870
Red-tailed Hawk              0              4              4
Rough-legged Hawk            0              0              0
Golden Eagle                 0              0              0
American Kestrel             3             36             36
Merlin                       1              3              3
Peregrine Falcon             1              2              2
Unknown Accipiter            0              0              0
Unknown Buteo                1              2              2
Unknown Eagle                0              0              0
Unknown Falcon               0              1              1
Unknown Raptor               1             10             10

Total:                     200           1126           1126
———————————————————————-

Observation start time: 08:00:00
Observation end   time: 16:00:00
Total observation time: 8 hours

Official Counter:        Matt Zeitler

Observers:        Ajit I. Antony, Beverly Robertson, Bill O’Keefe,
Judith C. Cinquina, Rob Stone, Scot Marchal

Visitors:
Penny Whitlick, Enid Hayflick, Mike Ipp., Jan Hesbon, Diane Brown

Weather:
Cool and cloudy for most of the day with a steady NW wind that was strong
at times. Temperatures ranged from 11 to 16 degrees Celsius.

Raptor Observations:
Raptors were flying high today even in the first hour of the watch. (3)
Adult Bald Eagles migrated and we had one adult Bald Eagle that headed
north. Also migrating were (1) Red-shouldered Hawk (unknown) and (3)
American Kestrels (2 unknown, 1 female).

Non-raptor Observations:
Bird Species identified: Tree Swallow (17), Canada Goose (34), Cedar
Waxwing (36), Common Raven (4), Chimney Swift (11), House Wren,
Black-capped Chickadee, American Crow (2), Blackburnian Warbler, Blackpoll
Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, American Redstart, Red-eyed Vireo,
and Magnolia Warbler. Non-raptor highlight was two Common Ravens flying
very close to one another and one of them doing a barrel roll.

After the hawk watch, I headed back to the Pine Island Turf Nursery to try for a better shot of the American Golden-Plovers:

American Golden-Plover out at the Pine Island Turf Nursery, 9/14/13.
American Golden-Plover out at the Pine Island Turf Nursery, 9/14/13.

Pine Island Plovers

One of approximately 40 American Golden-Plovers out at the Pine Island Turf Nursery, 9/12/13.
One of approximately 40 American Golden-Plovers out at the Pine Island Turf Nursery, 9/12/13.

Thanks once again to an alert from Rob Stone, I got the chance to see approximately 40 American Golden-Plovers at the Pine Island Turf Nursery this evening. Earlier in the day he had 75! What a treat to see these beautiful birds, I even managed to get close enough for some decent photos (distant and heavily cropped, but useable!).

I also think that I had one Black-bellied Plover, here is a photo of that bird.

I have this as a Black-bellied Plover because of the size of the bill and the the white undertail coverts. Please comment if you don't think this is an accurate ID - Thanks!
I have this as a Black-bellied Plover because of the size of the bill and the the white undertail coverts. Please comment if you don’t think this is an accurate ID – Thanks!

 

AMGP out at the Pine Island Turf Nursery, 9/12/13.
AMGP out at the Pine Island Turf Nursery, 9/12/13.

I also had two American Pipits and 4 Horned Larks while I was out there. The American Pipit is for some reason not a bird that is on my radar. When I saw these two birds, I did not know what they were. It was a case of shoot first and ask questions later. Unfortunately I did not get any quality photos of the birds. The following really should not be posted anywhere, but since it is a life bird for me…

Life bird for me - American Pipits out at Pine Island Turf Nursery. I wish I'd gotten better photos!
Life bird for me – American Pipits out at Pine Island Turf Nursery. I wish I’d gotten better photos!

**If you go to the Pine Island Turf Nursery, please stop in the office and ask permission to bird there. The people there are really nice.**

I also made a quick run through Turtle Bay Road, where I found three American Golden-Plovers and about 75 Killdeer.

9/10/13

Wilson's Snipe at Wallkill River NWR, 9/10/13.
Wilson’s Snipe at Wallkill River NWR, 9/10/13.

I only have time for a quick post. I met Karen Miller over at Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge yesterday evening where, to me, it was really beginning to feel like fall (in spite of the warm temperatures). We had some good ducks – many Mallards, some Green-winged Teals, and a single northern Shoveler. There were still some shorebirds present, including Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, and three Wilson’s Snipes. Green Herons are plentiful at the refuge right now for sure. Last week, we had eight (!) perched in one small tree! Here are some photos from the day, click on them to enlarge:

This looks like a first winter Northern Shoveler to me, as shown on page 58 of The Crossley Guide.
This looks like a first winter Northern Shoveler to me, as shown on page 58 of The Crossley Guide.

 

Green-winged Teal at Wallkill River NWR 9/10/13.
Green-winged Teal at Wallkill River NWR 9/10/13.

 

These Mallards were just packed onto this little island.
These Mallards were just packed onto this little island.

 

One of several Green Herons out at the refuge, 9/10/13.
One of several Green Herons out at the refuge, 9/10/13.

 

This photo did not turn out well, but I thought it was worth showing - eight! Green Herons in one small tree. Wallkill River NWR 8/31/13.
This photo did not turn out well, but I thought it was worth showing – eight! Green Herons in one small tree. Wallkill River NWR 8/31/13.

I have also made it out to the Mt. Peter Hawk Watch after work each night this week. It has been a slow week for me, in three visits I have a total of 4 migrating raptors (2 Sharp-shinned Hawks and 2 Osprey). Here’s a shot of one of the Turkey Vultures that hang out on the cell tower near the watch:

Turkey Vulture NOT migrating. Mt. Peter Hawk Watch, 9/10/13.
Turkey Vulture NOT migrating. Mt. Peter Hawk Watch, 9/10/13.

 

 

Hawk Watch Season Begins

I took this shot a couple of weeks ago while looking for shorebirds at the Pine Island Turf Nursery. Seeing this Peregrine Falcon definitely got me pumped to start the Hawk Watch
I took this shot a couple of weeks ago while looking for shorebirds at the Pine Island Turf Nursery. Seeing this Peregrine Falcon definitely got me pumped for the start of Hawk Watch. 

Hawk Watch Season officially began for me today; I made my first visit out to Mt. Peter Hawk Watch. Judy Cinquina was the official counter for the day, and while we did not have much action while I was there, she did count 135 migrating raptors for the day – mostly Broad-winged Hawks. To see details of  today’s count, or to look up data from past years’ counts, go to Hawkcount.org. This site is a great resource; data from 275 hawk watches in North America can be found there. For daily counts and more raptor posts you can also check out and become a member of the Mt. Peter Facebook Group.

Black Tern – Orange County

When the bird broke horizon, I got my best shot.  Black Tern at the Camel Farm,  9/2/13.
When the bird broke horizon, I got my best shot. A distant and heavily cropped Black Tern at the Camel Farm, 9/2/13.

I spent the weekend with my family in the Poconos and did not do any birding to speak of. This morning, however, as Tricia and I were getting ready to head home, I received a text from Rob Stone – Black Tern at the Camel Farm. Luckily the bird was still present when we arrived in the early afternoon. We joined Ken McDermott and fellow Mearnser Lisa and got good looks in both the binoculars and in the scope. I snapped some distant photos – there was no way I was doing a third consecutive post with no photos! Thanks again to Rob Stone for the heads up on this one.

x
If you click on this photo to enlarge it, you can make out the dark ear spot. Black Tern at the Camel Farm, 9/2/13. 
I wanted to include this photo because you can see the gray upper parts of the bird.
I wanted to include this photo because you can see the gray upper parts of the bird.

 

Turtle Bay Road

American Golden-Plovers continue onTurtle Bay Road in the Black Dirt Region. John Haas had 4 there early in the day yesterday, Rob Stone and Curt McDermott had 15 late in the evening, and I made a quick stop there this afternoon at around 4:30 to find 10 American Golden-Plovers still present. Also present were approximately 25 Killdeer and 1 Spotted Sandpiper.

Again the birds were just too far out for any kind of photos, so that’s two posts in a row with no pics! Good Birds – No Photos.

Upland Sandpiper!

Tonight at Skinner Lane I had two UPLAND SANDPIPERS. Unfortunately, the birds were out too far for photos, so you can click here for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology page on Upland Sandpipers or here for Google images of the bird.

I went out birding on this rainy day in search of the Willet that Rob Stone had found the day before at Wallkill River NWR. I actually ran into Rob at the refuge where we walked the loop but had no luck with the Willet. From there I headed over to Skinner Lane. There was not much going on in the field that has recently had the pools of rain water, just some Killdeer and what I’m thinking were Least Sandpipers. A few fields later on the left side I saw a couple of interesting looking birds. When I got my scope on one, it appeared to be an Upland Sandpiper, with its long neck, shortish bill, and small head. It was walking in the short grass along the edge of longer grasses, ducking into the longer grasses from time to time. Rob Stone showed up after a while and enjoyed good looks at the bird and then and located a second Upland Sandpiper. Awesome night for me – life bird!

Orange County – Shorebird Update

A Lesser Yellowlegs shifts position out at Wallkill River NWR, 8/22/13.
A Lesser Yellowlegs shifts position out at Wallkill River NWR, 8/22/13.

On Thursday after work I made a quick stop at Skinner Lane and found no shorebirds, so I headed over to Wallkill River NWR. It had rained just a little on Wednesday night, so I was hoping that maybe some new birds had moved in. Judy Cinquina had also reported a good number of shorebirds at the reserve to the Mearns Bird Club. I found a sizable number of shorebirds present that largely reflected what Judy had seen a day earlier. Most shorebirds where found on the West and South sides of the Liberty Loop:

Semipalmated Plover  3
Killdeer  28
Solitary Sandpiper  1
Greater Yellowlegs  4
Lesser Yellowlegs  8
Semipalmated Sandpiper  4
Least Sandpiper  25
Pectoral Sandpiper  2
Wilson’s Snipe  2

A pair of Lesser Yellowlegs at Wallkill River NWR, 8/22/13.
A pair of Lesser Yellowlegs at Wallkill River NWR, 8/22/13.
x
I could have taken a ton of photos of the Lesser Yellowlegs as they shifted positions in the water not far off the trail. 
Two distant Wilson's Snipe in the grass. Heavy crop here, but a really nice bird to see. I love the pattern on the back.
Two distant Wilson’s Snipe in the grass. Heavy crop here, but a really nice bird to see. I love the pattern on the back.

This morning I received a text from Rob Stone – American Golden Plover at the Pine Island Turf Nursery. Tricia and I headed over and thank goodness John Haas was there and on the birds because I don’t think I would have ever found them. Out in the distance in one of the fields, there were 4 birds present; two were adults in breeding plumage. The views were quite distant, but the light was good and the black undertail coverts on these two birds could be seen easily enough. They were harvesting onions while we were out there and the farm machinery finally moved close enough to flush the birds and I got one single photo of the birds in flight. This another distant photo, I think it is worth it click on it to enlarge it so you can a little bit of a look at these birds:

Two of the four American Golden Plovers (with 3 Killdeer) after being flushed by farm machinery. Pine Island Turf Nursery, 8/24/13.
Two of the four American Golden Plovers (with 3 Killdeer) after being flushed by farm machinery. Pine Island Turf Nursery, 8/24/13.

A final note: I had a few minutes in the early afternoon, so I cruised by Skinner Lane and again struck out. I also went to the Camel Farm where I had a single Greater Yellowlegs. My final stop was at the viewing platform at Wallkill River NWR, where I did not see any shorebirds but had 7 Great Egrets and 2 Green Herons in my very brief visit.