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

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red-necked Grebe…

… is another life bird for me! I went out to Glenmere Lake this afternoon to try for the Long-tailed Duck again and to see if the second round of storms brought in any new birds. I was very happy to find this Red-necked Grebe:_MG_6474

This is another distant shot that I have cropped pretty heavily. It has been a little frustrating that these birds are too far away for decent photos, but that is easily outweighed by the excitement of seeing a new species for the first time. There were fewer birds present today, but it was still a productive stop:

  • Mute Swan 4
  • Canada Goose 8
  • Wood Duck 10
  • Mallard 6
  • Lesser Scaup 4
  • Bufflehead 12
  • Common Merganser 9 (fly over)
  • Pied-billed Grebe 4
  • Red-necked Grebe 1
  • DC Cormorant 9
  • Turkey Vulture 4
  • A. Crow 2
  • Tree Swallow 75

Thanks again to Rob Stone for turning me on to Glenmere Lake, it has been awesome for me this week!

The Long-tailed Duck…

…is a life bird for me. Thanks to Rob Stone alerting me, I was able to get to Glenmere Lake in Florida NY today after work to see some really good birds, including a beautiful Long-tailed Duck. Here is a very distant photo, heavily cropped:

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A Long-tailed Duck, two Horned Grebes, and three Lesser Scaups in the distance out at Glenmere Lake 4/10/13.

When I got home I read John Haas’ post at Bashakill Birder and learned that due to the thunderstorms that passed through last night, there was a major fallout of birds. John wrote specifically about Sullivan County, but I imagine that I saw these birds in Orange County for the same reason. I had never birded at Glenmere Lake before, but it is now on my radar for birding spots. Here is my species list for the day:

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Osprey at Glenmere Lake 4/10/13/

Canada Goose  X
Mute Swan  2
Wood Duck  4
Mallard  5
Greater Scaup  1
Lesser Scaup  8
Long-tailed Duck  1
Bufflehead  10
Pied-billed Grebe  4
Horned Grebe  3
Double-crested Cormorant  5
Turkey Vulture  3
Osprey  2
Belted Kingfisher  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Tree Swallow  X
Black-capped Chickadee  1
American Robin  X
Red-wing Blackbird X

 

 

Here’s one more photo that includes five different types of water birds floating together:

Click on the photos to enlarge.

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In this photo: 1 Bufflehead, 1 Long-tailed Duck, 1 Pied-billed Grebe, 2 Horned Grebe, 1 Greater Scaup, and 10 Lesser Scaup at Glenmere Lake 4/10/13. I struggled with the Lesser Scaups vs Greater Scaups while I was in the field. I was fairly confident that I had one Greater Scaup while I was out there,  though I don’t know if I would have picked up on it if I didn’t know that Rob Stone had both scaups there earlier in the day. In this photo, I think the 2nd bird to the right of the Pied-billed Grebe might be the Greater Scaup, but it is really tough to tell.

Short-eared Owls 4-5-13

I hit the Shawangunk Grasslands Friday evening and sat in one of the blinds for a few hours. I finally got lucky with the Short-eared Owls. It is always such a rush to shoot these birds, especially when they come up right before sunset and the light is changing very quickly. I was happy to get one more chance to get some SEOW photos this year.

Click on photos to enlarge.

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Playing Catch Up

Derby Hill Bird Observatory 3-30-13

Tricia and I spent the holiday weekend with her family in Baldwinsville New York, which is just outside of Syracuse. Shortly after we arrived on Saturday we took a family excursion to Derby Hill Bird Observatory, which is a good hawk watch for spring raptor migration. Turkey Vultures and Red-tail Hawks were the most numerous migrants, but we saw a good variety of migrating raptors. Highlights included a young Bald Eagle that flew over soon after our arrival, and a low flying Merlin that we saw while we were exploring the shore of Lake Ontario.

An immature Bald Eagle flies over Derby Hill Hawk Watch in Mexico, NY 3-30-13.
An immature Bald Eagle flies over Derby Hill Hawk Watch in Mexico, NY 3-30-13.

Turkey Vulture – many

Bald Eagle – 1

Red-tailed Hawk – many

Red-shouldered Hawk – 1

Cooper’s Hawk – 1

Northern Harrier – 1

Merlin – 1

Canada Goose – many

Snow Goose – many

 

Later that evening we had a large skein of Canada Geese, a large skein of Snow Geese, and a smaller group of swans fly over the house at the same time. I went running for my camera and managed a shot of the swans:

Although I don't think there is any way to tell, I am thinking that these are Tundra Swans because of the number of birds. Apparently Trumpeter Swans tend to be in smaller groups.
Although I don’t think there is any way to tell, I am thinking that these are Tundra Swans because of the number of birds. Apparently Trumpeter Swans tend to be in smaller groups.

 

6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary

Song Sparrows were plentiful at 6 1/2 Station Road, 4-1-13.
Song Sparrows were plentiful at 6 1/2 Station Road, 4-1-13.

On Monday after work I stopped by 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary where it was pretty dead. I did not stay long as I was under-dressed for the cold; for some reason I thought it was much warmer out. Song Sparrow numbers were up, as were Green-winged Teal  numbers, and the Ring-necked Ducks are still hanging around.

I really enjoy the Killdeer. I've been trying to get a good flight photo of one, but no luck yet. Wallkill River NWR, 4-2-13.
I really enjoy the Killdeer. I’ve been trying to get a good flight photo of one, but no luck yet. Wallkill River NWR, 4-2-13.

Wallkill River NWR

I met Karen Miller out at Wallkill River NWR after work on Tuesday. We walked the Liberty Loop, it was cold but very enjoyable. We put together a respectable species list and took a lot of photos. _MG_4915

Canada Goose  X
Mute Swan  2 (photo right)
Wood Duck  17
American Black Duck  2
Mallard  X
Blue-winged Teal  4
Northern Pintail  8
Green-winged Teal  150
Great Blue Heron  2
Black Vulture  2
Turkey Vulture  3
Northern Harrier  3
Sharp-shinned Hawk  1_MG_5029
Red-tailed Hawk  3
Killdeer  2
Mourning Dove  1
Belted Kingfisher  1
Eastern Phoebe  1 (photo right)
American Crow  X
Common Raven  1
Tree Swallow  3
Black-capped Chickadee  1
Tufted Titmouse  1
American Robin  6
Song Sparrow  X
Northern Cardinal  1

A couple of the many Mallards seen out at Wallkill River NWR, 4-2-13.
A couple of the many Mallards seen out at Wallkill River NWR, 4-2-13.
Green-winged Teals were easily the most numerous bird at Wallkill  River NWR 4-2-13.
Green-winged Teals were easily the most numerous bird at Wallkill River NWR 4-2-13.
A male American Kestrel shows off his "string of pearls". Wallkill River NWR 4-2-13.
A male American Kestrel shows off his “string of pearls”. Wallkill River NWR 4-2-13.
The Blue-winged Teal is a BEAUTIFUL bird. I can't wait to get a good photo...Wallkill River NWR 4-2-13.
The Blue-winged Teal is a BEAUTIFUL bird. I can’t wait to get a good photo…Wallkill River NWR 4-2-13.

 

 

 

 

6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary

I stopped by my “home course” here in Goshen after work today like I often do. It was a gray cool afternoon with a moderate amount of bird activity. Turkey Vultures must be moving through pretty good right now, I’ve been seeing many on my daily commute and I had 11 at the sanctuary today. I also checked Hawkcount.org and saw that they had 555 Turkey Vultures go through the Derby Hill Hawk watch yesterday (I might make it out to Derby Hill this coming weekend, so I wanted to see what birds were passing through). Duck numbers and variety were down a little bit from last week. In all, I stopped by for just about an hour and I had 23 species:

Red-tailed Hawk at 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary, 3-28-13.
Red-tailed Hawk at 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary, 3-28-13.

Canada Goose  40
Mute Swan  2
American Black Duck  2
Mallard  2
Green-winged Teal  35
Ring-necked Duck  11
Common Merganser  10
Great Blue Heron  4
Turkey Vulture  11
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Killdeer  2
Herring Gull  5
Mourning Dove  2
Downy Woodpecker  1
Blue Jay  5
American Crow  8
Black-capped Chickadee  1
Tufted Titmouse  1
Eastern Bluebird  1
Northern Mockingbird  1
Amer. Tree Sparrow  7
Song Sparrow  5
Red-winged Blackbird

Shawangunk Grasslands NWR

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I waited for a good while for this female American Kestrel to fly…
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…and finally she did. American Kestrel at Shawangunk Grasslands NWR 3-21-13.

I went out to the grasslands yesterday after work in response to a post to the Mearns Bird Club by Ken McDermott. A couple of days earlier, he had eight Short-eared Owls at 3:00 in the afternoon. I was thinking that I had seen my last SEOW of the season before I read the post, though I am not sure when they actually head north. I figured I would give it a try and see if I would get lucky. I did not have any luck with the owls, but it was still a good visit with an interesting combination of what I consider winter birds and spring birds. The Common Redpolls and Horned Larks are still lingering, but I also had Red-winged Blackbirds and my first of season Eastern Meadowlark:

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Common Redpoll – Shawangunk Grasslands 3-21-13.

Turkey Vulture  4
Northern Harrier  5
Red-tailed Hawk  3
Killdeer  3
Ring-billed Gull  1
Rock Pigeon  8
American Kestrel  1
Blue Jay  1
American Crow  10
Horned Lark  1
Eastern Bluebird  3
Red-winged Blackbird  2
Eastern Meadowlark  1
Common Grackle  1
Common Redpoll  25

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The Common Redpolls were hanging around the parking lot for my entire visit. I was trying to get photos of them in flight (without any luck) and then they decided to line up for a photo. Common Redpolls at Shawangunk Grasslands NWR 3-21-13.
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Of course the Northern Harriers were flying out at the Shawangunk Grasslands, 3-21-13.
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One more Marsh Hawk, Shawangunk Grasslands NWR 3-21-13.

Today I did my usual brief visit to 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary, where things were a little less birdy than my last visit, but I still had a good list:

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A beautiful Red-tailed Hawk at 6 1/2 Station Rd Sanctuary, 3-22-13.

Canada Goose  30
Mute Swan  2
American Black Duck  2
Green-winged Teal  15
Ring-necked Duck  8
Common Merganser  1
Turkey Vulture  2
Northern Harrier  1
Bald Eagle  1
Red-tailed Hawk  4
Ring-billed Gull  23
Rock Pigeon  2
American Kestrel  1
American Crow  6
Song Sparrow  3

6 1/2 Station Road

Bald Eagle at 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary, 3-13-13.
Bald Eagle at 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary, 3-13-13.

I haven’t been feeling well and actually went to the doctor’s today. On my way back I made a short but, oh so sweet, stop at 6 1/2 Station Road. During my brief visit, I identified 17 species in addition to the adult Bald Eagle pictured above. A nice variety of waterfowl make up exactly half of my list:

This Canada Goose had some lighter markings on its upper neck.
This Canada Goose had some lighter markings on its upper neck. One of 27 Canada Geese at 6 1/2 Station Rd, 3-13-13.

Canada Goose  27
Mute Swan  2
American Wigeon  3
American Black Duck  3
Mallard  2
Ring-necked Duck  11
Bufflehead  1
Hooded Merganser  1
Common Merganser  5
Great Blue Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  4
Bald Eagle  1
Red-tailed Hawk  4
Ring-billed Gull  3
Blue Jay  1
American Crow  6
European Starling  8
Song Sparrow  2

Here's a long distance shot of a Bufflehead, heavily cropped. 6 1/2 Station Rd, 3-13-13.
Here’s a long distance shot of a Bufflehead, heavily cropped. 6 1/2 Station Rd, 3-13-13.
One more look at the Bald Eagle - 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary, 3-13-13.
One more look at the Bald Eagle – 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary, 3-13-13.