It’s been a while since I’ve gotten a life bird (over a year), but that’s what happened today. It was a bonus that the location was in Orange County and less than a 1/2 hour away. So, after work tonight I headed over to Lower Wisner Road, where up to 4 SEDGE WRENS have been reported in the last couple of days. As soon as I got out of the car, I could hear a SEWR calling from the north side of the road. As I got closer, I could hear a second bird, closer, calling from the south side of the road. I stayed still, listened and scanned, and eventually I located the bird, just about 30 yards out. I was pretty excited, it’s not every Tuesday evening you can get a lifer that easily; it was my 424th life bird.
IMPORTANT: *Please do not use tapes to try and get these birds closer for views or photos. They are pretty cooperative and patience will pay off. Use of tapes will likely disturb their attempts at breeding and ruin this great situation.* Thanks to John Haas for the above advice put forth on his blog Bashakill Birder.
I was on vacation last week; we rented a large house up in the Catskills with members of Tricia’s family. I took the opportunity to mostly relax poolside and while I didn’t actually do all that much birding, I did get out a couple of times. I’ll go through my pics and put together a post in the next day or so. Meanwhile, here are some shots of Green Heron siblings in the pond near my house from before I left. I’ve been in the area for 10 years now, and I think this is the second time that Green Herons have bred in that little pond.
It was a mostly uneventful weekend of birding for me. On Saturday I birded in my NYS Breeding Bird Atlas priority block and was able to confirm three additional species: Northern Mockingbird, Red-tailed Hawk, and House Sparrow. On Sunday I decided to change it up a little and I headed to Sullivan County, where I birded Hickok Brook Multiple Use Area. I was hoping for the outside chance at seeing/hearing Ruffed Grouse, but had to settle for seeing and hearing some species I don’t see very often in Orange County: Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Hermit Thrush, Black-throated Blue Warble, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and Magnolia Warbler.
I birded along the railroad tracks north of Sugarloaf again this morning – it’s turning out to be a very productive spot in my NYS Breeding Bird Atlas Priority Block (Warwick_CE). I confirmed (8) species this morning, (3) of which were new confirmations: Song Sparrow, House Finch, and Downy Woodpecker. Other highlights included watching a family of Barn Swallows during feeding time, and a rather charismatic Gray Catbird. I’ve actually always thought they were quite a photogenic species, I even included a shot of one in my top ten photos of the year back in 2016.
Just after sunrise this morning I was hitting the trail at Black Rock Forest. I was, of course, trying for Ruffed Grouse again; it was a total bust. The rain was relentless, the hike was difficult with slippery rocks, and there were hardly any birds – and no grouse.
Afterwards, I went home, dried off, got changed and went back out. This time to 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary to try for Least Bittern. The rain had finally subsided, it was a cool, pleasant walk on level ground, and yes, I got a Least Bittern. It was actually a pretty productive visit; I had nearly 40 species. I got a decent look at the bittern, as well as a low flying Virginia Rail. I was also able to confirm breeding status for (4) species: Song Sparrow, Common Grackle, Wood Duck, and Common Gallinule.