Sunday Shots, 08/13/23

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.

~Purple Martin at Wickham Lake, 08/11/23.~

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.

~Eastern Kingbird at Wickham Lake, 08/11/23.~
~One of a number of Least Sandpipers in the black dirt, 08/13/23.~
~I saw this hawk from a distance and I knew I wanted to get a better look. Patience paid off and I was able to get a decent shot of this Red-tailed Hawk with some unusual and beautiful plumage. Black Dirt Region, 08/12/23.~
~Lesser Yellowlegs at the Camel Farm, 08/12/23.~
~I’m really digging the light and colors in these Eastern Kingbird photos. Wickham Lake 08/11/23.~
~One more shot of the Purple Martins at Wickham Lake, 08/11/23.~

More Uppy Images, 08/08/23

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.

~UPSA in the black dirt, 08/08/23.~
~Upland Sandpiper in the Black Dirt Region, 08/08/23.~
~Uppy in the black dirt, 08/08/23.~

WOW! Four Upland Sandpipers in the Black Dirt, 08/07/23

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!

~My initial documentary shot of two of the four Upland Sandpipers in the black dirt on 08/07/23.~

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!

~Linda Scrima was able to capture this great flight shot – Upland Sandpiper in the black dirt, 08/07/23.~
~Upland Sandpipers in flight overhead, photo by Kyle Knapp. Black Dirt Region 08/07/23.~
~One more shot by Linda Scrima. Uppy in the black dirt, 08/07/23.~

The Berkshires, 2023

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.

~Alder Flycatcher at Savoy Mountain State Forest, 08/05/23.~

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.

~Mourning Dove on the railroad tracks at Bridges Pond, Williamstown MA, 08/06/23.~
~Chipmunk on a stack of railroad ties at Bridges Pond, 08/06/23.~
~Common Yellowthroat fledgling, Savoy Mountain State Forest, 08/05/23.~

Sunday Shots, 07/30/23

I had an enjoyable weekend of birding, but Saturday was particularly productive. We had a storm pass through early in the morning which left some nice puddling in the black dirt. I had loads of Killdeer, several Least Sandpipers, Solitary Sandpipers, a single Greater Yellowlegs, and my personal highlight of the morning: (4) Pectoral Sandpipers.

In the early afternoon I went to Piermont Pier to follow up on some recent eBird reports. My target birds from the reports included Laughing Gull, Semipalmated Plovers, and Red-breasted Merganser. Well, I dipped on all three, lol. BUT, the birding was still really good. I enjoyed seeing (4) Caspian Terns as well as great looks at nearly a dozen Semipalmated Sandpipers. It was hot as blazes on the pier, but the birding was still very enjoyable.

~One of nearly a dozen Semipalmated Sanpipers at Piermont Pier, 07/29/23.~
~Pectoral Sandpiper alongside a Killdeer in the black dirt, 07/29/23.~
~Red-tailed Hawk on a bale of hay in the black dirt, 07/29/23.~
~The elusive turtle action photo, inclusive of hovering mosquitos. I helped assure that this Box Turtle safely crossed the road – appropriately on Turtle Bay Road in the black dirt.~
~A singing Savannah Sparrow in the black dirt, 07/29/23.~
~I found a pair of presumed sibling fawns on Turtle Bay Road on Saturday morning. So cute!~
~And the sibling.~
~Mourning Dove in the black dirt, 07/29/23.~
~European Starling in the black dirt, 07/30/23.~
~This is likely the last of our House Wren photos – the chicks fledged on Saturday morning and they have been scarce since then. HOWR in our yard, 07/27/23.~
~Great Blue Heron in Montgomery, 07/30/23.~

Sunday Shots, 07/23/23

I always like to post on Sundays, so while I don’t have anything to report since yesterday’s post, here’s some additional shots from this weekend, as well as some shots from earlier in the week of the House Wrens that are breeding in our backyard. If you’ve ever had House Wrens breeding in your yard, you know they are hard to miss – they are extremely protective and they make a racket whenever the situation makes them the least bit uncomfortable.

~House Wren with what appears to be a spider. Our yard earlier this week.~
~Least Flycatcher at Black Rock Forest, 07/22/23.~
~A foggy shot of one of the House Wrens in our yard from earlier this week.~
~Eastern Phoebe on Celery Ave, 07/23/23.~
~Green Heron in flight at the Liberty Marsh, 07/23/23.~

Black Rock Forest, 07/22/23

I woke up nice and early and I started my hike at Black Rock Forest right around 6:30 am. I enjoyed a very birdy and extremely peaceful hike of just a hair under eight miles. I tallied 47 species and a I had a few surprises: I heard a calling Winter Wren, a first for me at that location. I also had a singing Cerulean Warbler high in the trees that I was eventually able to get on with my binoculars. I’m not 100% sure, but again, I believe that is a first for me at this location. Other surprises included the lack of certain species: I had only one single, silent Ovenbird – they are typically numerous. And I also had only one single Yellow-throated Vireo, when typically I have 3 or 4.

~Least Flycatcher at Black Rock Forest, 07/22/23.~
~Indian Pipe (also called Ghost Plant or Corpse Plant) at Black Rock Forest. I’ve only ever seen this plant one other time, at Hickok Brook back in 2017. It was strange because I was walking along and I saw some mushrooms; I immediately thought about Indian Pipe, and don’t you know about a minute later I found this.~
~I believe this is a Red-eyed Vireo fledgling. I’d never seen one before today. BRF, 07/22/23.~
~Worm-eating Warbler at BRF, 07/22/23.~


I’m pretty jazzed as I write this. After work this evening I headed out to the black dirt with shorebirds on my mind. The evening was mostly a bust, with only Killdeer and Spotted Sandpipers being observed. I was just about wrapping up, and I was looking in an area that has been good for Horned Larks, not really shorebirds, when I saw a bird naked eye that I knew had to be an Upland Sandpiper. I got my bins on it, and sure enough, it was! I was thrilled! What a bird! Regular readers of the blog know that I’m shorebird obsessed and I’m particularly partial to Uppies.

UPLAND SANDPIPER in the black dirt this evening, 07/21/23.~
~Uppy in the BDR, 07/21/23.~

Sunday Shots, 07/16/23

With even more rain falling overnight and into the morning, I headed back out to the black dirt to try for shorebirds again. I was really feeling like there might be an exciting bird out there today, but, alas, it wasn’t to be. I did enjoy observing the same 5 shorebird species (Killdeer, Least Sandpiper, Solitary Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, and Lesser Yellowlegs), and I had some decent photo ops with a small flock of Least Sandpipers that flew in and landed not too far from my car.

~Least Sandpiper in the black dirt, 07/16/23.~

Later in morning I went to the Newburgh Waterfront to see if anything good was going on there, or if I could at least finally catch up with the Neotropic Cormorant. Unfortunately it was mostly uneventful, but I did manage to see my first Orange County Great Egret of the year.

A young Tree Swallow flying over the puddles in the black dirt, 07/15/23.~
~Marsh Wren at Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge’s Liberty Marsh, 07/15/23.~
~A Least Sandpiper reflects on things in the black dirt, 07/16/23.~
~I was enjoying the swallows that were feeding on insects above the puddles in the black dirt. Here’s a young Barn Swallow swooping in, 07/15/23.~
~A young raccoon peers from behind its parent. Purgatory Road, 07/16/23.~
~Great Egret fly-by at the Newburgh Waterfront, 07/16/23.~

OC Shorebirds, 07/15/23

With all the rain we got in Orange County this week, I was optimistic that we would see some shorebird activity. I went out after work on Monday and searched in the black dirt. Conditions were good, and Killdeer were plentiful. I also saw a decent number of Spotted Sandpipers, a single Solitary Sandpiper, and a handful of Least Sandpipers. This morning my plan was to go hiking at Sterling Forest, but I changed my mind after last night’s rainfall. Conditions in the black dirt were good again, and I added several Lesser Yellowlegs to the mix. Unfortunately, they were flying model airplanes over the field and the LEYEs flushed before I got any photos. Spotted Sandpipers were more scarce, but I did have close to a dozen Solitary Sandpipers.

~A couple of Solitary Sandpipers in the black dirt, 07/15/23.~
~Spotted Sandpiper in the black dirt, 07/15/23.~
~One more Solitary Sandpiper. Black Dirt Region 07/15/23.~