Shawangunk Grasslands NWR, 5/30/15

*Click on photos to enlarge.*

~Male Bobolink perched at the Shawangunk Grasslands, 5/30/15.~

I got up really early this morning and headed over the the Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge. It was a little bit overcast as I arrived at just around 6:30, but it quickly cleared up and turned into a gorgeous morning. I parked my car out by the road in an effort to see as many species as possible, it can be quite birdy on the road into the refuge. It was towards the end of that road that I had my first Brown Thrasher of the year. As I entered the refuge, I could immediately hear one of my target birds, the Grasshopper Sparrow. I really like this bird for some reason, it is certainly not the most attractive bird, but I love its behavior and its call as well. I walked the Red Trail out to the furthest blind and then back; I saw 3 and heard an additional 3 Grasshopper Sparrows which seems like more than I had in that area last year at this time.

~It was a frustrating day photographing Grasshopper Sparrows, I had ample opportunity to do better than this, but it was not to be today; lots of out of focus shots. GRSP at Shawangunk Grasslands NWR, 5/30/15.~

Bobolinks were numerous and very busy calling and flying over. Meadowlarks were heard more than seen, but I did see ten or so, some perched and some in flight in the distance. Killdeer could be heard and seen on occasion and I saw three American Kestrels. One pleasant surprise was a female Northern Harrier that flew close to me; she had a Red-winged Blackbird in hot pursuit.

~I was not planning on this! NOHA at the Shawangunk Grasslands NWR, 5/30/15.~
~A flying, calling Bobolink. Shawangunk Grasslands NWR 5/30/15.~
~I love the legs on this female Bobolink. Shawangunk Grasslands NWR, 5/30/15.~

My only disappointment of the day is that I struck out with the Upland Sandpipers. I stopped by Blue Chip Farms after leaving the refuge and then I also tried the airport in Montgomery, but it was not to be. At the grasslands, I accumulated what I think is a respectable species list for the morning, with 35 species being seen or heard:

~Calling Bobolink at the Shawangunk Grasslands NWR, 5/30/15.~
~Calling Bobolink at the Shawangunk Grasslands NWR, 5/30/15.~

Canada Goose
Wild Turkey
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Northern Harrier
Red-bellied Woodpecker
American Kestrel
Willow Flycatcher
Great Crested Flycatcher
Yellow-throated Vireo
American Crow
Purple Martin
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Carolina Wren
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
Common Yellowthroat
Yellow Warbler
Savannah Sparrow
Grasshopper Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Baltimore Oriole
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

~I wanted to include this shot because you can see the yellow on the Grasshopper Sparrow’s wing. Shawangunk Grasslands NWR, 5/30/15.~
~I love this shot! Northern Harrier being harassed by a Red-winged Blackbird at the Shawangunk Grasslands NWR, 5/30/15.~
~A nice look at a male Bobolink, Shawangunk Grasslands NWR, 5/30/15.~
~A nice look at a male Bobolink, Shawangunk Grasslands NWR, 5/30/15.~
~Brown Thrasher, just off the road into the refuge, 5/30/15.~
~I went to Wallkill, NY to get Bank Swallows (no photos!), but this Red-tailed Hawk flew over with an Eastern Kingbird giving chase.~ 

10 thoughts on “Shawangunk Grasslands NWR, 5/30/15”

    1. Thanks Bill. Yeah blurry pics and nothing but sky, that’s how my Bank Swallow shots worked out! Matt

  1. Beautiful photos, Matt! Your first Bobolink photo is my favorite, the yellow flowers with the yellow flared crown of the bird! The Grasslands are such a magical place. I look forward to your future photograhs of the Grasshopper Sparrows. I think they are such beautiful little sparrows, and look forward to seeing them there.

    1. Thanks so much Kathy. I couldn’t agree more, the grasslands is an amazing and magical place. And, whenever I let some time pass between visits it’s always that much better when I get back there. Matt

  2. Very nice, as usual. I agree with you – love the RWBB vs NOHA shot. And Anne was dead on in her observations of your bobolink shot; don’t know how I missed that!

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