Between the weather, the time of year, and some personal obligations, there wasn’t much going on for me birding-wise this past weekend. Still, I like to try to post at least once a week, and I did get a few images worth sharing.
Early Saturday morning, I walked in the rain out to the back pond at the Liberty Loop. I was hoping for Least Bitterns, Sora, or anything exciting. Instead, I got plenty of Red-winged Blackbirds and Song Sparrows, lol. Birds were remarkably scarce, especially since there was almost no foot traffic on the trail due to the poor weather. Afterwards, I drove a little of the black dirt area, and then walked the trail at Goosepond Mountain where I had a notable bird – I flushed a trailside American Woodcock in a large field off of the main trail.
I had a funny thing happen at Owens Station Crossing after I left the loop. I drove in to OSC to see if anything was going on. There wasn’t much, but I did see this:
I was perplexed as to why the middle PUMA was perched nearly completely upside down. I was very embarrassed when I texted the photo to Linda Scrima (who works with the PUMAs at Owens Station), and she informed me that it is actually a statue that they put there to lure in early scouters, but it had somehow turned upside down, lol. It reminded me of when I was first starting out birding around 2012 – a long-time Orange County birder told me about a location in the black dirt to try for Short-eared Owls. I went out one evening; I arrived a little late and it was getting dark quickly. Shortly after arriving, I spotted an owl perched on a post, a few hundred yards out. I took loads of photos, trying to capture it in the darkness and distance. It wasn’t until I got home and looked at the photos on the computer that I saw it was a plastic owl, lol. You gotta be able to laugh at yourself sometimes, ha ha.
This morning I followed up on a report on the Mearns Bird Club app. The other John, aka The Lobsta, found a Bank Swallow colony in Slate Hill. The site did not disappoint – there were many Bank Swallows present and very active. I parked my car and used it as a blind and enjoyed the show. Afterwards, I decided to make it a swallow day, and I headed to a known nesting area for Cliff Swallows. Unfortunately the light was terrible there, making for terrible photos (I’ve posted one nonetheless). And finally, I headed over to Lower Wisner Road and spent some time with the nesting Tree Swallows at that location.
Aside from my hike at Black Rock Forest, I seemed to find Killdeer everywhere I birded this weekend. Many are working on their second clutch of the season. Meanwhile, the young Killdeer from the first clutch now have the appearance of clumsy teenagers; not quite adult size with a very pathetic looking tail, lol. Here’s a few shots from the weekend, with Killdeer ages ranging from eggs in the nest to the adult watching over.
It was five years ago today that I finally got my first Ruffed Grouse in Orange County. The location was at Jupiter’s Boulder in Black Rock Forest, so I headed there first thing this morning, hoping to finally get lucky again. Unfortunately, I had no luck with the grouse, but it was a beautiful and birdy hike. I enjoyed a couple of my favorite summer birds – Acadian Flycatcher and Yellow-throated Vireo. Another highlight was a low flyover of a Broad-winged Hawk while I ate my snack and drank some water right beside Jupiter’s Boulder. I completed my hike with 28 species observed, which I was pretty happy with.
This morning I headed out to the Bashakill Wildlife Management Area to try for the PROTHONATORY WARBLER which had been present for 6 days. Well, make it 7 days, as the bird was still present and with some patience I got some fabulous looks and some decent photos. Huge thanks to John Haas, who got me on the bird initially, and Scotty Baldinger, who got me on it for my photos. It was great to see them, as well as some of my other favorite birders, Mary B, PJ Singh, Jeff and Liz Zahn, and Karen Miller. The PROTHONOTARY WARBLER was a life bird for me (#443), and of course, a Sullivan County bird (#208).
Tricia and I just returned Tuesday evening, after spending 10 days in Ireland. It was my third trip to the Emerald Isle since I got heavily into birding back around 2011. As we have in years past, we spent our time on the west coast, visiting with Tricia’s family and spending time sightseeing and birding in the Clifden area initially, and then Galway after that. I observed a total of 57 species during the trip; 14 were new species for me in Ireland, and 12 of those were life birds.
Here’s a list of my new species in Ireland. Species in all caps were life birds for me.