More Pectoral Sandpipers

Two juvenile Pectoral Sandpipers at the Rondout Reservoir

Two juvenile Pectoral Sandpipers at the Rondout Reservoir


Right on the heels of having two Pectoral Sandpipers nearly land on Haven Road yesterday, (think I forgot to mention that in my post) I had a small flock of shore birds on the mud flats at Rondout Reservoir this morning. As soon as I pulled up, I heard Killdeer, which have been absent from the county recently. As I scanned the flats, I found a couple of Killdeer, and then three more flew in. As I scanned further, I saw two more birds join them from farther out. I was surprised to see two juvenile PECTORAL SANDPIPERS! These are beautifully plumaged birds. Other birds present included Mallard, Black Duck, Canada Geese, Wood Duck and Common Merganser. As if on cue, a small flock of Pine Siskins flew over. I don’t think I have birded any location in a couple of weeks without having some Pine Siskins fly through. On Hilldale Pond, a flock of ducks included 30 Ring-necked Ducks, the largest flock so far this fall.
A closer shot of one of the Pectorals

A closer shot of one of the Pectorals

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Bashakill

At a time when we are usually thinking sparrows, Finches seem to have taken the spot light. Sparrow numbers at the Bashakill have been good, but the diversity has not been great. Today, White-throated, White-crowned, Song and Swamp were the only sparrows I saw. On the other hand, PINE SISKINS are everywhere! I easily had over 100 of these finches between my two visits to the Bashakill today. Also of note were the good numbers of PURPLE FINCHES! Not only were many seen at Scott Baldingers feeders, I also had them at every field along South Road, at the Orchard, and at the Deli Fields. While the numbers aren’t as high as the Pine Siskins, they are being seen throughout the Bashakill. Interesting was the fact that American Goldfinches were in the lowest number today. The other bird of note today was RUSTY BLACKBIRD! When I visited the Main Boat Launch, I found a flock of 70 Rusties! Scott was able to make it over and see them as well. Raptors continue to move through, I had Red-shouldered, Red-tailed, Osprey, Bald Eagles and two Merlin today. Three American Pipits flew past Haven Road while I was there. Duck numbers were way down with the intense hunting that took place over the weekend. Up county, Swan Lake had the most waterfowl. 48 Common Mergansers, 34 Ruddy Duck, Pied-billed Grebe and American Coot were all seen.

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Sullivan County Red Crossbill and Waterfowl influx!

Surf Scoter on Yankee Lake

Surf Scoter on Yankee Lake

This morning I checked the lake for waterfowl. There has been nothing of note so far this season, but this morning was different. The first bird I spotted was a female SURF SCOTER! This was the first scoter I have had in the county this year. The best part is it is the least common of the three scoters here. I called Arlene Borko and Scott Baldinger and they were both able to come over and see the bird. Also present was a Bufflehead and an Osprey. I then headed up county to check if anything had come in there. As I was scanning Kiamesha Lake, I heard the familiar call of a RED CROSSBILL !!! Though I have seen these birds many times, this is the first time I have ever had one in Sullivan County. The bird, a female, was calling repeatedly from a stand of nearby White Pines. I scanned and scanned, but couldn’t spot the bird. Fortunately it kept calling its chp chp chp notes and as it took off from the tallest pine I was able to get on it. At that point I saw the pea-green color and realized it was a female. Fortunatley, it flew down the side of the lake directly to me. It then banked right in front of me (I think it was going to land on the beach) but my movement startled it. It flew to several stands of pines and then finally right up the road. I drove to the end of the road, sure I would never see it again, and relocated it immediately. This time when it took off, heading back toward the lake, I wasn’t able to find it again. It has been predicted that we might get a modest influx of this species this winter, hopefully this is a good sign that it is going to happen. I then went to the Bashakill where things were about status quo. Red-breasted Nuthatch and Pine Siskin being the best birds I saw. I then returned home for lunch and to check the lake for the scoter. Not only was the scoter still there, but it had been joined by several other species. I immediately launched my kayak, setting out to get some photos of these birds. The Surf Scoter was joined by a Horned Grebe, Red-breasted Merganser and a Double-crested Cormorant. The Bufflehead was nowhere to be found. I got some identifiable shots of a couple of the birds. All in all it was a great weekend for waterfowl. Pied-billed and Horned Grebe, Ring-necked, Black, Ruddy, Mallard, and Wood Ducks, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Bufflehead and Northern Pintail, Common and Red-breasted Merganser. What a great weekend!

Female Red-breasted Merganser on Yankee Lake

Female Red-breasted Merganser on Yankee Lake

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Sullivan County Weekly Report

Six of the ten Pine Siskins at the Nature Trail today.

Six of the ten Pine Siskins at the Nature Trail today.

This week has had an influx of later fall migrants, though no real standouts have occurred. The highlight of the week is the PINE SISKIN irruption and the beginning of the waterfowl movement. While I’ve birded throughout the county, the Bashakill, Kiamesha Lake and Swan Lake have had the most interesting birds. Pine Siskins began showing up about ten days ago and have continued throughout the county since then. Most recently, they have arrived in the Bashakill. I have had several small flocks each of the last three days. Also, American Pipits are coming through and also have been seen and heard from Haven Road. A Marsh Wren has been present there for a while now as well. Red-breasted Nuthatch’s continue to be found at both the Pine Boat Launch and the Haven Road parking lot. Waterfowl has begun to show up at all locations, with Ruddy Duck and Pied-billed Grebe being the most numerous thus far. As of today, 30 Ruddy Duck are at Kiamesha and 9 at Swan Lake. There are Pied-billed Grebe at Morningside Park, Kiamesha and the Bashakill. Both Green-winged and Blue-winged Teal are present at the Bashakill, in pretty good numbers, but difficult to see. If an Eagle is hunting over the marsh, be prepared, they will put up many teal at times. Merlin, American Kestrel and Northern Harriers have been present each day. Peregrine Falcons have been coming by the Hawk watch, but I haven’t had one at the Bashakill yet. Perhaps our last shore birds of the year have been showing up at Morningside, with two Lesser Yellowlegs present on Wednesday. The Deli Fields are alive with birds! Bluebirds, Northern Flickers, American Goldfinch, Purple Finch, House Finch and up to 8 species of sparrows have been present. The first White-crowned Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos have just begun to show up. Great birding throughout the county!

Perhaps our last two Lesser Yellowlegs of the season at Morningside Park.

Perhaps our last two Lesser Yellowlegs of the season at Morningside Park.

A distant shot of a few of the many Ruddy Ducks that have come in the last few days, including a breeding plumaged male.

A distant shot of a few of the many Ruddy Ducks that have come in the last few days, including a breeding plumaged male.

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Pine Siskins Have Arrived!

A Pine Siskin and Purple Finch on a feeder at the back of Sue's House.

A Pine Siskin and Purple Finch on a feeder at the back of Sue’s House.

This morning I did a tour of the Up-county area of Sullivan County. With all the reports of Pine Siskins recently, I was sure some had to have come in to the traditional area for them in the Pine/Spruce forests around the Neversink Reservoir. I birded many areas, with out success. I did find 5 American Pipits at the Neversink Reservoir, an assortment of common waterfowl at the Rondout Reservoir and both species of Kinglet in the Woodard Road/Cooley Bog area. When I finally reached Sue Rayano’s on Smith Road, I was beginning to think perhaps they weren’t here yet. Not to worry, I immediately found a nice assortment of birds at Sue’s feeders. 8 PINE SISKINS were the highlight! Also present were 2 Red-breasted Nuthatch, 6 Purple Finch, 2 American Goldfinch, 2 Dark-eyed Junco and the typical Chickadees, Nuthatches, Titmice and Mourning Doves. Three Siskins were feeding on the feeder at the back of the house and five more were in the nearby trees. Sue informs me they have been around for a couple of weeks already. Sue welcomes birders to her feeders.  She lives at the corner of Smith Road and Cooley Mountain Road in the town of Neversink. Just park at the drive way on the Smith Road side of house (near the white pickup truck) and view the feeders from the side yard. Good luck if you go!

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California Condor now ABA countable! #676

One of the juvenile California Condors I was able to see at the Grand Canyon South Rim in July 2007.

One of the juvenile California Condors I was able to see at the Grand Canyon South Rim in July 2007.


The ABA recently voted by a margin of 4 to 1 to make species that have been reintroduced to the wild countable once they have begun breeding again. Here is the new regulation regarding this action. A complete account will be made available to the public on the ABA Blog in the near future. This not only affects California Condor, but Aplomado Falcon and Whooping Cranes in Florida as well. Great news! For a more complete explanation, go to the ABA Blog and then to Listing Central. I think it is a bit hard to navigate, but that may just be me.

2014: (vi) an individual of a reintroduced indigenous species may be counted if it is part of a population that has successfully hatched young in the wild or when it is not possible to reasonably separate the reintroduced individual from a wild-born individual;

Addendum: On a number of occasions through the years I have tried to find out the status of California Condor A4 pictured above. I was able to observe a number of condors on my trip, but this bird was the most cooperative for photos and I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with this bird. I had never found it on any list until now. I checked the Peregrine Fund web site on the California Condor. It provided a complete list of all condors released or born in the wild and what there current status is. The site was just updated this September. A4 is currently alive and well, living in the wilds of northern Arizona. He (it is a male) is now ten years old and has been living freely since his release in the spring of 2006.

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Baird’s Sandpiper continues

The Baird’s Sandpiper at the Apollo Plaza continues this afternoon. Showing nicely for Matt Zeitler, Ken McDermott and Scott Baldinger. The bird is feeding vigorously and hopefully will remain at least through dark. At 5 pm it is still here.

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