First thing this morning, I went to Bullville Pond to see if anything was going on. I had shorebirds (of course) and Little Blue Heron on my mind. Unfortunately it was a bust, so I headed back out to the black dirt, where I eventually joined up with several other birders and finally got the Baird’s Sandpiper. After missing that species last year, I wanted to see one – it had been nearly 2 years! Also present were 50+ Least Sandpipers, a Semipalmated Sandpiper, 5 Buff-breasted Sandpipers, many Killdeer, and a flyover of a Semipalmated Plover. Photos were tough today, so I’m mostly posting more photos from yesterday’s shorebirds and a couple of cowbirds from this morning.
Yesterday was quite a day in our area for shorebirds, with many excellent birds reported. In the black dirt, the best new species included Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Baird’s Sandpiper, and American Golden-Plover. In Sullivan County, John Haas had a WHIMBREL at Morningside Park – read about it here. Unfortunately, I was working most of the day, and then unable to get out after work as well.
I hit the black dirt early this morning and I was able to locate (2) Buff-breasted Sandpipers; definitely the bird of the day for me. The Baird’s Sandpiper was reported, but I was unable to catch up with it. I enjoyed a very close up encounter with a pair of Semipalmated Plovers; what a cute and excellent bird to see up close. The Camel Farm pond is overrun with vegetation, which has made birding that location even more frustrating than it usually is. Today I heard and caught glimpses of loads of Lesser Yellowlegs there; goodness knows what kind of species are hidden from view there.
It’s been the summer of the Upland Sandpiper for me. Tonight I was birding in the black dirt and an Uppy ran right across the road in front of my car! I’d inadvertently flushed the bird from the long grasses on the roadside. It flew into the field to my right and then made its way across the field and then flew to the neighboring field. I put the word out and Karen Miller and I enjoyed my best Upland Sandpiper looks of the year. The bird eventually disappeared into a tall grassy area, so we decided to move on. I got back to my car and a second Upland Sandpiper flew across the road! It was an excellent evening of birding. All photos taken in the Black Dirt Region, 08/18/23.
This evening after work, I went to the Black Dirt Region to follow up on several reports of a good variety of shorebirds. I expected today to be good (it might have been good timing for a personal day), after the storms that came through the area last night. I joined Diane Bliss and Kyle Knapp and I thoroughly enjoyed a pleasant evening with some fabulous birds:
- Black-bellied Plover (1)
- Semipalmated Plover (3)
- Killdeer (35+)
- Least Sandpiper (16)
- Pectoral Sandpiper (7)
- Semipalmated Sandpiper (5)
- Short-billed Dowitcher (4)
After work on Friday I followed up on a report by Diane Bliss of several Purple Martins at Wickham Lake. Fortunately the birds were still present when I arrived, so I was able to take some photos and add them to my 2023 county list. Afterwards I sent to Wisner Road to try for the Sedge Wren that Kyle Knapp located back on July 31st. I didn’t have any luck with the wren, but I went back first thing Saturday morning and heard the bird singing deep in one of the fields.
Shorebirds were the main focus for me for the rest of the weekend, but unfortunately I was unable to add any new species to my fall migration list. The hotspot for me was the Camel Farm, where I had: Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs, Pectoral Sandpipers, Least Sandpipers, Killdeer, and Solitary Sandpipers. The black dirt was loaded with Killdeer and I had several sightings of Least Sandpipers and one Spotted Sandpiper. I saw reports of Upland Sandpiper in the rare bird report, but I didn’t have any luck with them. Anyways, here’s my images from the weekend, I hope you enjoy them.
I received word while I was working today that the 4 UPLAND SANDPIPERS continued in the black dirt. I was going to check for them regardless, but knowing they were still around got me excited. When I first arrived, the birds were being viewed by several other birds. The birds were distant, but I enjoyed watching them in my scope. As the evening progressed, all the workers and all the other birders save one had left, the birds made their way closer to the road. They never got close enough for good pics, but still it was great to see them and fun to try for photos.
After work this evening I headed out to the black dirt with UPLAND SANDPIPERS on my mind… and I hit the jackpot! I was searching through the black dirt and I located a good number of Killdeer in a couple of fields side by side. I scanned quickly with my binoculars and immediately got on an interesting looking bird. I got it it in the scope, and sure enough it was an Uppie! With another one right nearby! Oh wait, is that a third? And a fourth? Wow!
I put out the word and Linda Scrima and Kyle Knapp joined me in no time flat. It was a good thing too, because the Uppies were on the move. I did my best to track the birds while Linda and Kyle documented – I never would have been able to keep track and document by myself. Jeanne Cimorelli showed up as we were leaving, and she later let me know that she had relocated 2 of them. What an exciting evening of birding!
Tricia and I spent the weekend up in The Berkshires to celebrate our anniversary. While birding was not the focus of the weekend, I did get out early both days. I chose my locations with a single target species, the elusive Ruffed Grouse. I’ll kill the suspense now and say I did not have any success with my target. But, I birded a couple of interesting spots.
On Saturday I went to Savoy Mountain State Forest, where I hiked just under 4 miles. I had mostly the usuals, but with some interesting highlights: I got excellent looks (but no photos) of a Canada Warbler, there was also a very accommodating Alder Flycatcher (a species I don’t recall ever photographing previously), and I also had a Red Crossbill fly overhead, calling as it went.
This morning I followed up on an eBird report of a Ruffed Grouse at Bridges Pond in Williamtown, MA. The birding was uneventful, but the spot was interesting only because most of the trail ran right alongside railroad tracks, so I took the opportunity to be a little creative with my photos.