Some decent movement before the storm

My first Green Heron off the boardwalk at the Nature Trail.

Things have again picked up over the last few days. Monday was the best day with six new FOS species found that day. It was a good night for passerine movement and I had a mixed species flock right in my yard when I went out that morning. FOS HOUSE WRENS (2) were singing loudly. A flock of warblers included Yellow-rumped, Pine and Black and White. At the Bashakill it was a lively morning. Mixed species flocks were in several spots. On Haven Road I found my FOS WARBLING VIREO. Another spot with good activity was the Nature Trail. My FOS GREEN HERON was there (thanks Joe for the heads up). On to the Horse Shoe Parking Lot. This mixed species flock contained my FOS AMERICAN REDSTART! Back to the Main Boat Launch I ran into Wilma Amthor. Together we had two firsts, YELLOW WARBLER and EASTERN KINGBIRD! After a long, but productive day, I went back out before dark. At the Deli Fields I had two American Woodcock. Pine Kill Road was my next stop. Here I had a single Whip-poor-will and two Barred Owls. A really great day!

A feisty little male American Redstart was in the Horseshoe Parking area.

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Bashakill – Earthday cleanup!

Though our scope views of the bird were better than my shot, a White-winged Scoter was a nice bonus on Earth Day!

Ed VanBuren, Arlene Borko, Mark Spina, Scott Baldinger and I all joined about 75 other enthusiasts today cleaning up the Bashakill for Earth Day! Once again, we removed an abundance of refuse from our local wetlands and had a great time doing it! It is great to see so many young people involved in this endeavor. Paula Medley gave a warm welcome to the throngs, recognizing many key individuals for their support of the Bashakill. After the job was done, we enjoyed yet another wonderful lunch generously provided by the Fiore family! Another great lunch Bob! It was a good morning generating a palpable spirit for our wetlands! A bonus was some early birding and a couple of new year birds for several of us. Two I got to see were my FOS SOLITARY SANDPIPERS and CLIFF SWALLOW. Another bonus was a White-winged Scoter found off the Nature Trail by Joyce Depew. A rare bird at the Bashakill, it was enjoyed by many. One of my distant shots of the bird can be seen above. Great Earth Day!

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As great as today’s birding was, it didn’t offer a lot of good photo ops as evidenced by this distant shot of the pair of Surf Scoters on Kiamesha Lake.

Last nights southwest winds with at times heavy rain had Bruce Nott, Scott Baldinger, Arlene Borko and I scrambling around the county this morning. An amazing number of migrants came in and put down with the storm. I started off at Yankee Lake with my FOS COMMON TERN! I heard from Bruce he had an amazing showing of swallows at the Bashakill. To make a long story short, all five swallows with CLIFF SWALLOW, BANK SWALLOW and PURPLE MARTIN (BN,SB) all seen there this morning. Also present were at least three GREATER YELLOWLEGS and one LESSER YELLOWLEGS! From there, we all headed up county, eventually joined by Arlene and had some great birds. Kiamesha Lake was the most productive. Three BONAPARTE’S GULLS, two SURF SCOTERS, one WHITE-WINGED SCOTER, three LONG-TAILED DUCK, Wood and Black Ducks and several Bufflehead. Quite a showing! From there, it was on to Morningside Park. Six more Long-tailed Ducks and our first Double-crested Cormorants of the day were there. On to the Neversink Reservoir. Twenty three Long-tailed Ducks, a Bufflehead, Common Mergansers and a raft of very dark ducks (black scoters?) too far to identify were seen. There were also Herring and Ring-billed Gulls here, the only spot we saw them today. On to Swan Lake. Four Long-tailed Duck, two Ruddy Duck, a Ring-necked Duck (only one of the day) and three more Bufflehead were seen. We all returned to the Bashakill, but I didn’t have anything new after that. I returned again late this afternoon and had a pair of AMERICAN BITTERN right off the Stop Sign Trail. Great birding!!!!

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Things are picking up again.

One of a flock of about ten Yellow-rumped Warblers seen today.

Birding all around the Bashakill this morning it was evident that at least some migration had taken place overnight. For the first time in several days I had a decent showing of early warblers. Palm (3), Pine (2), Louisiana Waterthrush (1) and Yellow-rumped Warbler (10) combined with many Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Blue-headed Vireos (4) and lots of Ruby-crowned Kinglets made for some interesting birding. Also a nice find were three Black Vultures feeding on a rabbit carcass along rt. 209 near the Deli Fields. They kept running into the road between traffic to feed, so I stopped and threw the rabbit into an open grassy area. They never even flushed, and then ran right to it when I backed off. It was also a two Owl day for me. An Eastern Screech in one of its usual spots and a Barred Owl calling uphill from the Stop Sign Trail. On the marsh, Virginia Rails and Common Gallinules were joined by my FOS AMERICAN BITTERN! A really great day that resulted in 61 species.

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Relatively quiet the last several days.

Things have been relatively quiet the last several days. The Trumpeter Swan continued to draw many observers through yesterday, but was unfortunately gone this morning. Those arriving at the boat launch this morning were the first group to be disappointed. Recent arrivals have been few, but Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Blue-headed Vireo, Virginia Rails and Ruby-crowned Kinglets have been the birds to show significant increases. I did have a fun evening last night. I headed to the Deli Fields just before 8pm to see what I could come up with for night birds. The Great Horned Owls were not calling, but a couple of American Woodcock were displaying. No Eastern Screech either. On to Pine Kill Road, I was really pleased to have my FOS EASTERN WHIP-POOR-WILL calling incessantly! On to my second spot for Whips, but none to be heard. As soon as I got out of my car, two BARRED OWLS were doing the wild “Monkey Calls” they do when they are courting. They too seemed not to be able to stop, still going when I left five minutes later. A fun evening!

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Migration Slowed

I birded the Bashakill, Yankee Lake and Kiamesha Lake today. Little was happening on the water, only one Common Loon seen on Kiamesha Lake. At the Bashakill, the TRUMPETER SWAN is now in its sixth day. Its nice to see more people coming to see this bird each day. The only real uptake in birds seemed to be in a few passerines. Eastern Towhees, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and Ruby-crowned Kinglets have all increased or remain numerous. I think between traveling, my yard and the Bashakill I had about ten towhees today. Only three species of duck at the Bashakill for me today, including a few lingering Ring-necks. That was about it for the day.

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My first shot of an Eastern Towhee this year. I think its such a regal looking bird!

First, the TRUMPETER SWAN continues this morning. Many birders showed up again today for their try at the bird and none were disappointed. Much kayak traffic seemed to quickly push the bird to the back side of the kill, but it wasn’t flushed, so I guess it might be getting used to the activity. Migration was much less prominent than I had expected. Many Blue-gray Gnatcatchers came in and more Ruby-crowned Kinglets as well. I had a Brown Thrasher at the Pine Boat Launch, my first at this spot. Pine Warblers and Louisiana Waterthrush were in most of their usual spots. Eastern Towhees are showing up in several areas. Waterfowl continues to decrease. 20 Ring-necked Ducks, 30 Wood Ducks, 15 Mallard and 2 Northern Shovelers were the only ducks seen. No mergansers for me this morning. Nice morning.

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