Long-billed Dowitchers Continue

It was not a great night for photos, but it was good to see that the pair of LBDOs continue out at 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary 10/10/13.
It was not a great night for photos, but it was good to see that the pair of LBDOs continue out at 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary 10/10/13.

Tonight at 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary, the two Long-billed Dowitchers continue in the small pond to the south of the Heritage Trail. Additional shorebirds included 11 Lesser Yellowlegs and 4 Pectoral Sandpipers. I also enjoyed a decent showing of waterfowl with Canada Geese, Mallards, Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal, a single American Black Duck and a single Northern Pintail.

I also tried something new for me tonight: I wore camouflage. I’ve heard many photographers talk about how effective camouflage is for photographing wildlife, and tonight I experienced it for the first time. While shooting Yellow-rumped Warblers, I noticed that the birds seemed far less likely to flush. Also, while shooting the two Dowitchers, 10 Lesser Yellowlegs flew in and landed between myself and the Dowitchers – pretty darn close really. It’s only one outing, but it does appear to make a difference.

Yellow-rumped Warbler at 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary, 10/10/13.
Yellow-rumped Warbler at 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary, 10/10/13.
One of 11 Lesser Yellowlegs seen today at 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary.
One of 11 Lesser Yellowlegs seen today at 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary.
I had to wait for this LBDO to do some scratching to get a shot with his bill completely out of the water.
I had to wait for this LBDO to do some scratching to get a shot with his bill completely out of the water.

 

 

Mt. Peter Hawk Watch – 9/28/13

A local Red-tailed Hawk flies right over the viewing platform at Mt. Peter Hawk Watch, 9/28/13.
A local Red-tailed Hawk flies right over the viewing platform at Mt. Peter Hawk Watch, 9/28/13.

Well, I had another slow day for migrating raptors at Mt. Peter Hawk Watch today. Overall I think the numbers of migrating hawks at the watch have been good this season, but I only had 21 today. Visit Hawkcount.org to see all the data for the year. Here is my report from today:

Mount Peter
Warwick, New York, USA
Daily Raptor Counts: Sep 28, 2013
——————————————————————-

Species            Day’s Count    Month Total   Season Total
—————— ———– ————– ————–
Black Vulture                0              0              0
Turkey Vulture               0              2              2
Osprey                       1            101            101
Bald Eagle                   1             71             71
Northern Harrier             2             26             26
Sharp-shinned Hawk           8            362            362
Cooper’s Hawk                0             21             21
Northern Goshawk             0              0              0
Red-shouldered Hawk          1             20             20
Broad-winged Hawk            8           7591           7591
Red-tailed Hawk              0              6              6
Rough-legged Hawk            0              0              0
Golden Eagle                 0              0              0
American Kestrel             0             86             86
Merlin                       0              5              5
Peregrine Falcon             0              6              6
Unknown Accipiter            0              0              0
Unknown Buteo                0              3              3
Unknown Eagle                0              0              0
Unknown Falcon               0              1              1
Unknown Raptor               0             16             16

Total:                      21           8317           8317
———————————————————————-

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

Official Counter:        Matt Zeitler

Observers:        Tom Millard

Visitors:
Steven Liss and family, several families eating their ice cream.

Weather:
A heavy fog rolled in from the valley shortly after my arrival to the
watch, but cleared up by the end of the first hour. It was a warm sunny day
with some clouds and a gentle NW breeze that shifted to NE during the fifth
hour of the watch. Temperatures ranged from 10 to 25 degrees Celsius.

Raptor Observations:
Migrating raptors included (1) Immature Bald Eagle, (2) unknown Northern
Harriers, and an immature Red-shouldered Hawk.
Non-migrating raptors: Turkey Vultures and Black Vultures were flying for
most of the day as was one local Red-tailed Hawk. Just before noon Eastern
Standard Time an immature Bald Eagle circled west of the viewing platform
but then headed north.

Non-raptor Observations:
Non-raptor species: Tufted Titmouse, Blue Jay (49), Black-throated Green
Warbler (2), Cedar Waxwing (18), Eastern Phoebe, Canada Goose (33), Chimney
Swift (5), Red-bellied Woodpecker, Palm Warbler.

Beautiful marking on this bird. Red-tailed Haw at Mt. Peter Hawk Watch, 9/28/13.
Beautiful marking on this bird. Red-tailed Haw at Mt. Peter Hawk Watch, 9/28/13.
I had a decent Blue Jay flight early in the day, with 49 Blue Jays, Mt. Peter Hawk Watch, 9/28/13.
I had a decent Blue Jay flight early in the day, with 49 Blue Jays, Mt. Peter Hawk Watch, 9/28/13.
I really think I should have gotten a better shot of this bird, this was the most accommodating warbler.
I really think I should have gotten a better shot of this bird, this was the most accommodating Black-throated Green Warbler. Mt. Peter Hawk Watch, 9/28/13.

 

 

 

 

Wallkill River NWR 9/22/13

As soon as I got out of the car I snapped some shots of this Northern Mockingbird in the early morning light. Wallkill River NWR 9/22/13.
As soon as I got out of the car I snapped some shots of this Northern Mockingbird in the early morning light. Wallkill River NWR 9/22/13.

Here’s a quick post from my outing on Sunday morning. I arrived at Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge just after sunrise; the sunlight was beautiful and the birds were plentiful. Here’s my list for the day:

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One of ten Great Egrets I counted out at the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge, 9/22/13.

Canada Goose  45
Mallard  30
Northern Shoveler  5
Green-winged Teal  10
Great Blue Heron  5
Great Egret  10
Green Heron  5
Turkey Vulture  2
Northern Harrier  2
Sharp-shinned Hawk  1
Bald Eagle  1
Broad-winged Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Black-bellied Plover  1
Killdeer  6
Greater Yellowlegs  5
Lesser Yellowlegs  12
Pectoral Sandpiper  3
Wilson’s Snipe  2
Mourning Dove  2
Belted Kingfisher  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
American Kestrel  1
Eastern Phoebe  3
Red-eyed Vireo  1
Blue Jay  4
American Crow  10
Black-capped Chickadee  2
Tufted Titmouse  2
Northern Mockingbird  1
European Starling  40
Common Yellowthroat  4
Northern Parula  1
Black-throated Green Warbler  3
Song Sparrow  X
Northern Cardinal  1
Bobolink  X
American Goldfinch  2

I think the Northern Shoveler is a beautiful bird. Wallkill River NWR 9/22/13.
I think the Northern Shoveler is a beautiful bird. Wallkill River NWR 9/22/13.
This Black-throated Green Warbler had some sort of growth on the top of its bill. Wallkill River NWR 9/22/13.
This Black-throated Green Warbler had some sort of growth on the top of its bill. Wallkill River NWR 9/22/13.
Philadelphia Vireo in the shade at Wallkill River NWR 9/22/13.
Red-eyed Vireo in the shade at Wallkill River NWR 9/22/13.
I stumbled onto a nice mixed species flock that included Black-capped Chickadees, Titmice, Black-throated Green Warblers, a Philadelphia Vireo, and this Northern Parula. Wallkill River NWR 9/22/13.
I stumbled onto a nice mixed species flock that included Black-capped Chickadees, Titmice, Black-throated Green Warblers, a Philadelphia Vireo, and this Northern Parula. Wallkill River NWR 9/22/13.

Basha Kill 5/18/13

Chestnut-sided Warbler at the Stop Sign Trail at the Basha Kill, 5/17/13.
Chestnut-sided Warbler at the Stop Sign Trail at the Basha Kill, 5/18/13.

In a brave move, I went out to the Basha Kill solo this morning. As you probably know, I do plenty of birding alone, but in this case I say it is brave because it is warbler season, and this being only my second year of looking for warblers, it still does not come very easily to me. I find both aspects of looking for warblers a challenge: 1. birding by ear, and 2. finding these littlest of birds in the vastness of the rapidly growing foliage. I felt pretty good about it when I was out, I was really enjoying myself. But by the end of the morning, I had only totaled 6 species of warblers, which is not exactly spectacular. Even though I did not get many warblers, I was seeing, hearing and identifying many birds. I ended the morning with 41 species, which a very nice total for me. Here’s my list for the day:

This was one of the highlights of the morning for me, one of two White-crowned Sparrows at the Deli Fields, 5/17/13.
This was one of the highlights of the morning for me, one of two White-crowned Sparrows at the Deli Fields, 5/18/13.

Canada Goose  X
Wood Duck  4
Mallard  5
American Bittern  1
Great Blue Heron  10
Green Heron  1
Osprey  1
Bald Eagle  2
Rock Pigeon  10
Mourning Dove  7
Black-billed Cuckoo  1
Chimney Swift  2
Ruby-throated Hummingbird  2
Eastern Phoebe  3
Eastern Kingbird  4
Yellow-throated Vireo  2
Warbling Vireo  X
Blue Jay  3

American Crow  1

These little Yellow Warblers are everywhere right now, and I think they take nice photos. This one was at the Nature Trail, 5/17/13.
These little Yellow Warblers are everywhere right now, and I think they take nice photos. This one was at the Nature Trail, 5/18/13.

Barn Swallow  8
Veery  1
Wood Thrush  4
American Robin  X
Gray Catbird  X
Brown Thrasher  1
Black-and-white Warbler  1
Common Yellowthroat  X
American Redstart  6
Magnolia Warbler  1
Yellow Warbler  X
Chestnut-sided Warbler  1
Field Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  X
Swamp Sparrow  2
White-crowned Sparrow  2
Northern Cardinal  1
Rose-breasted Grosbeak  1
Red-winged Blackbird  X
Common Grackle  X
Baltimore Oriole  X
American Goldfinch  6

This was my first opportunity to photograph a Wood Thrush. This is a bit noisy and also a little soft because of the low light. Nature Trail, Basha Kill 5/17/13.
This was my first opportunity to photograph a Wood Thrush. This is a bit noisy and also a little soft because of the low light. Nature Trail, Basha Kill 5/18/13.
I had my first of season AMERICAN BITTERN shortly after arriving at Haven Road this morning.
I had my first of season AMERICAN BITTERN shortly after arriving at Haven Road this morning. For a change, the bird was pretty easy to pick out in the sea of green.
Always photogenic, Eastern Phoebe at Haven Road, 5/17/13.
Always photogenic, Eastern Phoebe at Haven Road, 5/18/13.

 

After Nemo

Today was the day after Winter Storm Nemo. Approximately 14 inches of snow fell here in Goshen, so I donned my snow shoes and hit the Heritage Trail that leads to 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary. It was a tough walk, but very enjoyable. I did not find any out of the ordinary birds, but many of the usual suspects made a good showing.

The most interesting aspect of the day for me was noticing how the snow lit the underside of the birds as they flew over. The amount of detail I could see on this Red-tailed Hawk was fascinating to me. And as the crows flew over I was seeing colors and highlights I never really noticed before. For both of these birds, what I was seeing came through in my photos. I also had several Black Vultures that looked SO different to me, it was amazing – unfortunately it did not come through in my photos. I also had several Ring-billed Gulls fly over that were the brightest, cleanest white I’ve ever seen; none were very close so I was unable to get any photos.

x
A young Red-tailed Hawk with plenty of details showing. 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary, 2-9-13.
x
One more of the same Red-tail, 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary 2-9-13.
x
An American Crow flies over, well lit from the fresh snow fall. 6 1/2 Station Rd Sanctuary, 2-9-13.

I was interested in getting some photos of birds in the snow, but it never really panned out. Here are a couple decent shots from the day.

This is one of my best shots of a Downy Woodpecker. For some reason I just haven't gotten a good one yet...
This is one of my best shots of a Downy Woodpecker. For some reason I just haven’t gotten a good one yet…
Song Sparrow in the snow on the Heritage Trail near 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary, 2-9-13.
Song Sparrow in the snow on the Heritage Trail near 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary, 2-9-13.

Update: I was thinking today that I have not included many species lists in my posts lately. I think it’s probably because my lists have been pretty sparse. On this day I did pretty well, totaling 15 species for the day. I also used the app Birdlog on my iPhone for the first time. It is actually pretty cool and it allows you to easily keep track the species and their numbers while in the field. I enjoyed using it on this day, but I am interested to see if I start to use it all the time. Here’s my list for the day:

Black Vulture  5
Turkey Vulture  7
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Ring-billed Gull  4
Belted Kingfisher  1
Downy Woodpecker  3
Blue Jay  3
American Crow  38
Black-capped Chickadee  4
Tufted Titmouse  1
European Starling  12
American Tree Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  1
White-throated Sparrow  3
Dark-eyed Junco  1

 

 

 

Fall Birding Photos

 

Red-tailed Hawk at Wallkill River NWR 11-4-12.
A close-up of the same hawk – this bird was perched on a wire and was extremely accommodating.
My first Dark-eyed Junco of the season. Shawangunk Grasslands 10-27-12.
I played a hunch and stopped at the parking lot of a cafe on route 207 north of Goshen. It payed off with this adult Bald Eagle in the field across the street.
This might be my favorite photo of the year. Ruddy Duck at Kiamesha Lake 10-27-12.
This Golden-crowned Kinglet was very cooperative on my first visit to the Wood Duck Trail at the Wallkill River NWR 11-4-12.

Tufted Titmice at Franklin Lakes Nature Preserve

I spent some time yesterday at the Franklin Lakes Nature Preserve in Bergen County, New Jersey (see link). The Tufted Titmice put on a show for me. Many thanks to Ken McDermott for helping me figure out who is who in these photos:

An immature Tufted Titmouse watches an adult fly off.

 

I was pleasantly surprised by this photo. It was taken in low light with a shutter speed of only 1/125th of a second and no monopod.
An immature Tufted Titmouse, looking to be fed, performs the wing-quiver.
Immature Tufted Titmouse.
Food exchange.