A Good Day, 03/09/19

~Rough-legged Hawk in the black dirt, 03/09/19.~

There were some good birds reported locally this week, so that gave me some targets for today. At first light I headed over to Glenmere Lake to try for the Red-necked Grebe that Kathy Ashman located yesterday, and fortunately bird was still present. Kathy also showed up, and the bird put on a pretty good show as it tried to swallow a fish that was just way too large. Eventually a Ring-billed Gull swooped in and stole the fish, putting a halt to the grebes attempts. Glenmere is one of the few lakes with open water in the county, and including the grebe, I had 10 species of waterfowl: Wood Ducks, Hooded Mergansers, Buffleheads, Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Mallards, American Wigeons, Ring-necked Ducks, and 2 COMMON GOLDENEYES.

-A distant shot of the Red-necked Grebe with two Canada Geese at Glenmere Lake, 03/09/19. I sort of like this shot because to me it shows the profile of the RNGR well.~

I then cruised the black dirt for a while – I had several large groups of Canada Geese, maybe around 5,000 total, I sifted through them all and unfortunately did not located any other species. I did alright for raptors; I had my first Sharp-shinned Hawk in the count for the year, several Red-tailed Hawks, Turkey Vultures, an American Kestrel on a wire, and I got some decent shots of a Rough-legged Hawk.

~Perched Rough-legged Hawk in the black dirt this morning, 03/09/19.~
~Common Merganser on the Wallkill River in the black dirt, 03/09/19. These birds have such varying looks depending on the light.~

My next move was to head north to Ulster County to try for the Ross’s Goose that had been reported all week. I tried Bates Lane at Blue Chip Farms first, and I got lucky as another birder, Neil from the Schenectady was already on the bird when I arrived. He gave me a look in his scope, as the bird was at quite a distance, and I tried to get some documentary shots of the bird. It’s always good to see a Ross’s, and this bird is just the perfect beautiful example of the species. I made a quick stop at the Shawangunk Grasslands NWR, since I was so close, in spite of the parking lot being full of cars (at just after noon!) there were not many birds flying and I had only a single Turkey Vulture in the distance.

I had planned to head over to Cornwall to try for the Lesser Black-backed Gull that Bruce Nott found yesterday, but I ran out of time. I may try for that bird tomorrow. What a satisfying day of birding, I feel like we are on the verge of some really good birding in our area.

~I love this little bird. Ross’s Goose at Bates Lane in Ulster County, NY 03/09/19. I’d have loved to get a better look at this bird, but unfortunately it was miles out.~
~Red-necked Grebe trying to choke down a massive fish at Glenmere Lake, 03/09/19~
~Canada Geese in flight at Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge, 03/09/19~

10 thoughts on “A Good Day, 03/09/19”

  1. Matt
    Great photo of Rough-legged hawk. This photo shows how this hawk got its name – the feathers on
    it’s legs. It also shows it’s small feet which it uses to hunt small rodents and grip stunted branches
    on tundra trees.

    Tom Millard

    1. Thanks Tom. Interesting observations about the bird’s legs and feet; I never realized that their feet were on the small side. Matt

  2. It was great to see you this morning, Matt, and share in the viewing of those beautiful waterfowl at Glenmere. All your photos are wonderful, but I particularly like the one of the Canada Geese…it looks like a study in flight behavior. Hoping this morning’s storm will put down some more good birds for us to see.

    1. Always good to see you Kathy. It’s strange about that Canada Geese photo – I rarely take shots of Canadas, but yesterday I snapped just a couple as they flew over. When I looked at them, I really liked them too. Matt

  3. Great shots. I was tempted to go down to the Trenton area to see the grebe there but decided to go to Merrill Creek with my son in law. He had made several failed attempts to see the Boreal but had success yesterday. Went on to Alpha where we saw 2 Chukar on the side of the road. Thousands of snow geese put on quite a show. Also had flocks of larks. No long spurs or snow buntings

    1. Congrats to your son-in-law on the Boreal Chickadee, that bird is sticking around. I’ve never seen a Chukar yet, that’s a nice looking bird for sure. Matt

  4. Nice blog and great photos! I initially noticed your “grebe with fish” capture. That looks like a huge fish (do you know what type?) caught and staring down the captors throat here!

    So the grebe manage the struggle and gulp the fish all the way down okay? Does the fish put up a good fight, I wonder if it stands any slim chance of damaging (biting, sharp fins, wriggling etc.) the bird’s elastic gullet or even escaping it if eaten in that condition?! Sorry for all the questions, but thanks for the feedback/information!

    1. I’m not sure what kind of fish that is – it was huge for the grebe and it never did manage to swallow it. It tried many times and eventually a Ring-billed Gull seized the opportunity and stole it from the grebe. I wonder if the grebe had enough time if it would have been able to swallow it? Usually when I see something like this, the bird manages to some how get it down eventually – I think it depends on getting the fish at just the right angle. Glad you are enjoying the blog/photos. Matt

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