Sunday Shots, 07/11/21

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.

~Yellow-bellied Sapsucker at Hickok Brook MUA, 07/11/21.~
~Although most were heard, it’s always good to see a Hermit Thrush. Hickok Brook MUA, 07/11/21.~ .
~A recently fledged Red-tailed Hawk waits for a parent to bring a meal, Sugarloaf NY 07/10/21.~
~I initially thought this was a new species confirmed, but it turns out that Chipping Sparrow had already been confirmed in my priority block. Sugarloaf NY, 07/10/21.~

More Atlasing and a Photogenic Gray Catbird

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.

~Gray Catbird in Sugarloaf NY, 07/04/21.~
~Gray Catbird in Sugarloaf NY, 07/04/21.~
~Gray Catbird in Sugarloaf NY, 07/04/21.~
~Gray Catbird in Sugarloaf NY, 07/04/21.~
~A young Barn Swallow anticipating being fed by a parent…
~…and the parent doesn’t disappoint. Barn Swallow in Sugarloaf NY, 07/04/21.~
~A different Gray Catbird – this one is a newly fledged bird. Sugarloaf NY, 07/04/21.~

6 1/2 Station Road, 07/03/21

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.

~Green Heron at 6 1/2 Station Road, 07/03/21.~
~MODO at 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary, 07/03/21.~
~Adult female Wood Duck with some sleepy ducklings. ^ 1/2 Station Road, 07/03/21.~
~Can you see the Least Bittern? It may have been distant, but it was still great to see. This bird was my 177th species in Orange County this year – I haven’t been really going for a big county list this year, and it shows – I’m 15 birds behind last year’s pace. LEBI at 6 1/2 Station Road, 07/03/21.~