American Coot at the Bashakill 5/23/13 potentially breeding?
I met Danny Messina at the Bash this morning and we birded the Orchard/Stop Sign Trail and the Nature Trail. The only migrants I saw were four Blackpoll Warblers. All the regular breeders were present including at least two Cerulean Warblers. A first year male Orchard Oriole seems to be singing on territory at the Nature Trail. Look for it near the board walk and the Tulip Tree. When we were done, I kayaked the channel from the main boat launch to Westbrookville and back, passing the launch heading east. My goal was to find some Least Bittern, but I didn’t find any today. As I headed east from the launch, I flushed a bird in the pickerel weed. It splashed around in the weeds and eventually came out in front of me. I surprised to see and AMERICAN COOT. The bird gave several cackling alarm calls and flew down channel about 150 feet. In stead of retreating into the weeds, it swam back and forth in the channel, giving an alarm call periodically. All of this speaks of breeding behavior. The bird never had to show itself at all. As I sat there, I heard several alarm calls from deep in the pickerel weed. I have a difficult time discerning Gallinule calls from Coot calls, but I think it was a second coot. This is the second year in a row the American Coot has been found in this area during the breeding season. I hope to eventually confirm breeding here. Other highlights of the trip included at least a dozen COMMON GALLINULE and one PIED-BILLED GREBE.
A distant shot of the Stilt Sandpiper found by Rob Stone this morning (bird on left with Dunlin)
Today’s shot of the Gray-cheeked Thrush is better than yesterdays
This morning I met Bill Fiero and Wayne Hall at the Bashakill. We birded a while when Jeff Goulding joined us. We birded the Orchard and Stop Sign Trail and then the Nature Trail. Bird numbers were down, especially warblers, but there were still some good birds around. Blackpolls and Canada Warblers were the primary migrants. Flycatchers were quite common and one possible Olive-sided was on the SSTR, but took off the moment we got on it and we couldn’t be positive of the ID. I had a total of 13 warbler species. Out on Thrush Point off the Nature Trail at least one GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH continues. At 11am I got a call from Rob Stone informing me he had found a breeding plumaged STILT SANDPIPER on Oil City Road. I headed down there where Rob was still on the bird. I was pleasantly surprised to find he also had 7 WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS with the Stilt. Also present were Dunlin, Least and Semipalmated Sandpiper, Semipalmated Plover and Killdeer. Thanks Rob for the heads up on these great birds. From there I went to Indiana Road to try for the GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS Rob had found last week. It took nearly an hour, but a rain shower seemed to get everything singing, including the Grasshopper. It finally popped up and chased a second bird whose ID I’m not sure of. When the chase was over the Grasshopper sat for several seconds in a bare open spot giving a nice view. Thanks again for this one as well Rob.
one of two Gray-cheeked Thrush on the “Thrush Point” section of the Nature Trail 5/21/13
This morning I birded the Orchard/Stop Sign Trail and Nature Trails. It was again quite birdy, though migrant warblers were down by number of species from yesterday. Highlights were my FOS BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO on the Stop Sign Trail, my County FOS YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOOS (2) on the Nature Trail and my FOS GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH (2) on the “Thrush Point” section of the Nature Trail. Another highlight was (2) MOURNING WARBLERS on the Nature Trail. Both were singing, and one was seen well. (2) CANADA WARBLERS and at least (12) BLACKPOLL WARBLERS were the only other migrant warblers seen. A special highlight of the morning was a singing Swainson’s Thrush at the Orchard. The bird sat right over the bridge on the road in, singing its heart out. This is the first time I have ever SEEN a Swainson’s Thrush singing. They don’t normally do it here on migration and the few times I’ve heard them singing was always in the distance somewhere. It was a real treat.
Semipalmated Plover at Apollo Plaza
Lance Verderame called to inform me about shore birds at the Apollo Plaza. I picked up Arlene Borko and we zoomed up to find 8 Least Sandpipers and 1 Semipalmated Plover. Also present were 3 Killdeer and 30 Cliff Swallows building nests on the old store front. Thanks Lance!
male Blackpoll Warbler on the Nature Trail
Hooded Warbler by the foot bridge across from Orchard
This morning the Orchard/Stop Sign Trail and the Nature Trail were very active with the continuing arrival of warblers. I started at the Orchard where I found the male HOODED WARBLER back on territory just across the road near the foot bridge. Upon returning to the orchard side of the road I found a singing MOURNING WARBLER in the apple tree the Chestnut-sided Warbler has been hanging out in. In just moments, a singing male TENNESSEE WARBLER flew in singing as loud as it possibly could. All the other regular warblers were present as was a CANADA WARBLER. As I worked my way toward the parking area, more birds could be seen and heard. A second Canada Warbler, several Blackpoll Warblers and TWO more Tennessee Warblers were right in the lot. Further out on the Stop Sign Trail I had my county FOS WILLOW FLYCATCHER. I had a total of 12 warbler species at this stop. On to the Nature Trail. It too was quite active. I managed 13 species here, nice diversity, but no Tennessee or Mourning. Canada, Blackpoll and Magnolia Warblers were the highlights. Out in the marsh, birds were very active this morning. A Pied-billed Grebe and 4 Gallinule were calling constantly. As I turned to leave the board walk, I was thrilled to hear a SORA call in the marsh. On to Linear Park. Here, Chestnut-sided, Yellow, Louisiana Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat and Blue-winged Warblers were seen as were a few Indigo Buntings. The highlight was my FOS ALDER FLYCATCHER. On to Gumaer Falls Road. Blackburnian, Black-throated Green and Black and White Warblers were seen. Here I had my FOS ALDER FLYCATCHER. Not a bad morning with 19 species of warbler seen in all.
Purple Martin on Haven Road 5/19/13
A steady light rain made things difficult for birding today. I was hoping it might have put some new birds down in the area, but for the most part that wasn’t the case. Warbler numbers were way down this morning. Empids seemed to have increased, but none were really talking other than Least Flycatcher. A female/first year PURPLE MARTIN was on the wires on Haven Road. Thanks for letting me know Lance!
I just received word that the Ken McDermott Team including Curt McDermott, Rob Stone and Steve Schyler took first place with a phenomenal 141 species. Congratulations to the winning team!