This morning I hiked the Sterling Ridge Trail at Sterling Forest State Park. I tallied just under 50 species of birds; all of them were expected species (the usuals). I did have a little bit of excitement, however, with two separate Black Bear sitings. One bear was up on a hillside, about 150 yards off the trail, and took absolutely no notice of me. The other was just on the other side of a small pond. That bear was definitely aware of my presence; it most likely heard the camera shutter. It had been a couple years since I’d seen a bear, so today was a treat.
I went out late Saturday morning with Upland Sandpiper on my mind. I spent some time at the Orange County Airport, and then headed to Ulster County and tried Blue Chip Farm and the Grasslands. While I had no luck with Uppies (it was always a long shot), I did spend some time with a Killdeer family at the airport, as well as a very cooperative Eastern Meadowlark at the Grasslands.
This morning I wanted to take a hike, so I went to Black Rock Forest and hiked out past Jupiter’s Boulder, which I chose in hopes of seeing or hearing a Ruffed Grouse (another long shot!). No luck with the grouse, but it was a fairly productive hike with over 40 species observed. The only sort of unusual siting was a young Hooded Merganser; I was happy to see and record this bird. As a bonus, it was close enough for decent photos.
Yard Birds 2022: Still stuck at (49); I didn’t add any new birds this week.
I had some hits and some misses this weekend. On Friday evening, and again on Saturday afternoon, I tried for the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher which was reported in Beacon, NY. On Friday evening I missed that bird by just over an hour; as far as I know that was the last time the bird was seen.
But, I had a really great Saturday morning. I went for the Dickcissel which was found by Ronnie DiLorenzo in the black dirt earlier in the week. I joined Kyle Knapp and the we not only enjoyed the Dickcissel, we also had a very confiding Grasshopper Sparrow. The light was nice, the birds were close and singing their hearts out; it’s hard to ask for much more than that!
Afterwards, I went to the Camel Farm to try for shorebirds. I was not disappointed; there were 2 Semipalmated Plovers, 1 Semipalmated Sandpiper, and a WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER present. Kyle and Linda Scrima joined me there and got the birds. Unfortunately, as is always the case at the Camel Farm, the birds were too distant for photos. As a consolation prize, we watched a Peregrine Falcon chase a white pigeon across the field and then fly right over us.
This morning I went back to the Camel Farm and the White-rumped Sandpiper and the Semipalmated Sandpiper were still present, sharing the pond with a Spotted Sandpiper. I also went to the south pond at the Liberty Loop, hoping for shorebirds. Unfortunately conditions weren’t great and I didn’t have any shorebirds. But, again, consolation prize, I had a nice experience with two White-tailed Deer fawns that were playing and just going bananas running around the marsh. They were so cute!
Yard Birds 2022: (49) I’ve stalled out in my yard; I didn’t add any new birds since my last post.
On Saturday morning I birded locally. I was hoping for maybe some late shorebirds, but I came up empty at both the Camel Farm and Beaver Pond. I spent some time early at Liberty Marsh, hoping maybe a calling Sora or Least Bittern, but no such luck. I did have my first Orchard Oriole of the year, so that was good. And finally, I ended up late in the morning at Goosepond Mountain, where I was able to confirm breeding status for Rose-breasted Grosbeak.
We spent the night at my sister Aileen’s house in the Poconos. Her place historically hasn’t been extremely birdy, but on this Sunday morning her backyard was full of birds, including a low flying Red-shouldered Hawk, a Red-eyed Vireo, as well as several Ovenbirds and American Redstarts. My brother-in-law Bill and my sister are interested in knowing about the birds, so I enjoyed telling them about the birds we were hearing and seeing. The Lehigh River cuts through the back of their yard; I enjoyed taking a brisk dip in the river and there was also a teasing Louisiana Waterthrush which called often but only gave a few fleeting glimpses and no photo ops. On the way out of their community, we stopped at Big Bass Lake to check out the beach, and had an adult Bald Eagle fly right overhead. The beach was loaded with people and not one person noticed the eagle, in spite of me shooting away taking pics.