A beautiful male Orchard Oriole, one of six we had on our count.
Friday morning I started off at the Bashakill to see if anything new came in. For me, it hadn’t. I then headed to Orange County to do some scoping for the Mearn’s Bird Club Break-a-hundred competition that was to start at 4pm that afternoon. I went to Six and a Half Station Road to see what was around. It was very birdy and I was pleased with what I found. I then headed home to rest up for the start of the race. I met my team mates (Karen Miller, Jeff Goulding and Lisa O’Gorman) at Port Orange Road at 3:45 pm. We started promptly at 4pm and had plenty of birds there. Half a dozen species of warbler, some hawks, tanagers, orioles etc. From there, we headed right over to Six and a Half Station Road, hoping some of the birds I had seen earlier were still around. A nice assortment of shore birds included Lesser Yellowlegs, Semi-palmated Plover, Least and Spotted Sandpipers and a Killdeer. In the marsh, Swamp Sparrow, Marsh Wren and a calling LEAST BITTERN were all nice finds. A pair of Orchard Orioles was a nice add as well. A pair of Lesser Scaup, which I had found earlier in the day, continued and though quite late were a good add for the spot. From there we went to Mine Torn Road in West Point. We began adding new birds immediately and were pleased with the results. Blue-winged Warbler, Common Nighthawk, American Woodcock and eventually Whip-poor-will were all added. We did some owling, but didn’t find any. Home by 11pm and up at 3am, We met the next morning in Goshen in the pouring rain. Fortunately, it didn’t last to long and we eventually dried out. We were trying once again for the Virginia Rail that I had had during the day yesterday, but that we missed last night. No luck. We did have the Least Bittern again, who must have decided he was on our team. He called and called, as we were hoping he’d come into view when he suddenly went quiet. We watched for movement for several minutes without a peep when we noticed another team coming up the trail. The bittern never said another word while the team stopped and chatted. Five minutes after they left, he began to call again. We then headed to Laurel Grove Cemetery. Since there were other teams there, we decided to go to Box Baum Reservoir and return later to the cemetery. We did relatively well at the reservoir, adding a number of species, and getting to watch a pair of Brown Creeper going in and out of their nest behind a large patch of bark on a tree. From there we went to the Hawks Nest. This is a winding stretch of road on a cliff perched high above the Delaware River. I had been made aware of a pair of nesting PEREGRINE FALCONS there by a friend of mine. The moment we stepped out of the car we saw them both swooping through the air and eventually landing on a dead snag and copulating! It was a neat experience. We returned to the cemetery, which apparently had become less active (we were told later there had been an abundance of birds there), though we didn’t realize it. We had half a dozen species of warbler there including our first Northern Parula and Blackpoll Warblers. Eagle eyed Karen Miller spotted a roosting COMMON NIGHTHAWK in a large oak tree! We had quite a few birds here. We then headed to Oil City Road, where Winding Waters Trail was rather quiet. We did add Semi-palmated Plover and Greater Yellowlegs at one of the flooded fields, and a Semi-palmated Sandpiper at the Camel Farm. Pochuck Mountain trail provided our first Black-throated Blue Warbler and Rose-breasted Grosbeak. We eventually headed to Sterling Forest where we found Hooded Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush and Golden-winged Warbler. On to the Newburgh Waterfront we added Ring-billed Gull and Fish Crow. A fast ride to Montgomery and Rt. 17K, we picked up our last bird of the day, Purple Martin! We ended our day with 106 species, only taking 4th place, but had a great time! Congratulations to the other teams that took first, second and third place! Thanks to Karen, Jeff and Lisa for a great Break!
Our group celebrating our 100th species for the day, Bank Swallow!
The Common Nighthawk found by Karen Miller at the Laurel Grove Cemetery