Sunday, May 17, 2015

May 17 - Local Breeders

As I have seen most of the migrating Wood-Warblers at the hot spot of Garret Mountain my attention now turns to finding the species I have not seen.  Fortunately several of these species are still 'local' because they can be found within a one-hour drive to some spots in New York's counties of Rockland & Orange.

First up today was Rockland's "Doodletown" which is located just south of the Bear Mountain Bridge.
Here we saw the glorious Cerulean Warbler in very good numbers, which means we see several of them and that includes both sexes.  Another specialty of this place is the Kentucky Warbler, which has been seen here annually since 2009.  Before then I had to go at least 2 hours south into New Jersey to see this species.  Also seen here today was Olive-Sided Flycatcher, another migrant.  The breeders seem were Louisiana Waterthrush, Worm-Eating Warbler, Blue-Winged Warbler, Yellow-Billed Cuckoo, and Ruby-Throated Hummingbird.

Next was a visit to Orange County's Sterling Forest, specifically the Ironwood Road section.  Here the target is the ever declining Golden-Winged Warbler and we were able to see one of the males today.

Finally back in New Jersey we stopped in Bergen County at the Mahwah park known as 'Mary Patrick'.  This Water Company property is open to the public and here we were able to see the Mourning Warbler, thanks to help from Doug M. who kindly showed us the spot where he had seen it earlier afte rit was reported by Rich K.

So today has a good quantity of birds and species, along with the bonus of seeing some of the rarer migrants.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

May 14 - Twenty Warbler day + other goodies

Today was another banner day for migrants up on Garret Mountain.  I tallied 20 wood-warblers, including fantastic and long views of the much sought-after boreal species.
It's pure eye-candy to simultaneously see both the male Cape May Warbler & the male Bay-Breasted Warbler in one binocular view !
I dislike to express such bravado, however I enjoyed the Cape Mays for so long that I finally had to put the bins down as my arms were getting tired.  Enough of the bragging, here is the highlights from today, May 14:
Spotted Sandpiper
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Common Nighthawk
Chimney Swift
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Yellow-throated Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Gray-cheeked Thrush
Swainson's Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Northern Waterthrush
Black-and-white Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Cape May Warbler
Northern Parula
Magnolia Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Pine Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Canada Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Scarlet Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

April 15 - Chuck-will's-Widow in NYC

It was not a taxing day for me today as I finally was able to view the difficult to see species of nightjar known as the Chuck-Will's-widow !
This species gets it's name from the song which it sings at dusk.  Over the past decade I have heard this species a half-dozen times but have never been able to actually see one, until today.
This is New York State Bird # 353 for me.

credit: Jennifer Bishop

Here is another image by Matthew Wills that shows the rufous spots on the end of the wings

click on the image to enlarge.

To see more images, visit Matthew's website at the link below:
credit: Matthew Wills

Sunday, April 12, 2015

April 12 - Return of Spring & Rarity Chase

Ahhhh, today was the first day that felt like a true 'Spring' day.  There were clear blue skies and temperatures into the mid-60s by afternoon.
I began the morning at the local NJ hotspot of Garret Mountain in Woodland Park (nee West Paterson).  I saw several 'first' birds of the year in Pine Warbler, Palm Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, and a kettle of 8 Broad-Winged Hawks  Several other good birds were still around such as Fox Sparrows, Rusty Blackbirds, Brown Creepers, both of the Kinglets were seen, as well as, many Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers.  It was a nice morning of bird and good friends in Bill, Carol, and Hank.

Later, I drove up to Montgomery, NY to try my luck at seeing the Crested Caracara which has been seen at Scotty's Golf Course over the past few days.  As luck would have it, this was a drive-up bird.  I saw the bird in flight immediately as I arrived at the parking area and I enjoyed long flight looks at this species.

Here is a picture of the bird taken by friend John Haas:

credit: Bashakill Birder Blog

This species is very rare outside of the southern US, so this was a first New York State Record for me !
New York bird # 352.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

March 7 - Common Redpoll

At last I have a Common Redpoll visiting my home feeders this morning !  For the past few weeks I have been enjoying up to 24 Pine Siskins eating up pounds of nyger seed while I continually looked for one of them to be Red.  The last time I had Redpolls at my home was back in February 2013.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

March 1 - Jones Beach

Our group of 4 took a trip out to Jones Beach this morning in hopes of seeing Common Redpolls, and maybe the over-wintering Northern Goshawk.  We saw neither of these birds, but did see a Northern Saw-Whet Owl.

credit: Bill Elrick

Sunday, February 08, 2015

February 8 -Gyrfalcon

After not having the time to chase this bird yesterday afternoon it was great to learn the falcon was seen today, and much earlier in the day too !    So I made the dash up to Blue Chip Farm, known as being the most reliable spot for Upland Sandpiper in lower NY State, and along the way today I had to pass trough a snow squall.  I kept my spirits up and carried on.
My friends had seen the bird earlier today, and it was nice of them to wait for me to show up on-site before they headed home.  They shared with me where it was seen and told me it had been absent for about 40 minutes.
Fortunately about 10 minutes after they left the remaining birders saw the falcon cruise in for an attempt at the group of ducks that were gathered inside a small open area in the larger, snow-covered paddock area.  If you're a duck it must be pretty scary to have that 3-pounds of raptor chasing after you.
After some fantastic flights the bird perched in a leafless tree about 100-125 yards away.  Fine views were had for 45 minutes until the snow started falling again.  Satisfied I headed home.

Here is one of the spectacular images captured by Karen, the original finder of the bird.

Credit: Karen Maloy Brady