Sullivan County

A Black Vulture at the roost at the entrance to the landfill.  This is usually a good spot to find them, especially on a rainy morning.

A Black Vulture at the roost at the entrance to the landfill. This is usually a good spot to find them, especially on a rainy morning.


I took a bit of a break from birding over the last five days. I had a lot going on and was a bit tired out from all of my travels. Yesterday, I birded some of the local hot spots for the first time in some time. I started at the Apollo Plaza (no current access) where I am able to view it from some adjoining property. The two Osprey are busy feeding chicks. Four Killdeer and a Spotted Sandpiper were seen as were four species of swallow. Cliff Swallows continue to breed on the façade of the building this year. From there I went to the Sullivan County Landfill. Also no access in less your dropping off your recyclables as I was. The vulture roost had a dozen vultures including one Black Vulture this morning. On the grassy mound nearest the office, Bobolink, Savannah Sparrows and Eastern Meadowlarks could all be seen and heard. From there I went along the Neversink River. It was very birdy. The most interesting birds to me were a family of Belted Kingfishers. I saw at least four birds, but since views are often obstructed, there could have been more. The eagle chick has fledged and no sign of any eagles this morning. From there, a quick trip to the Bashakill. I didn’t spend much time here, but had an American Bittern calling and three Common Gallinule. Also no eagles here, they too have fledged and were not in the area this morning.
A soggy Eastern Meadowlark on a rainy morning.

A soggy Eastern Meadowlark on a rainy morning.


A female Belted Kingfisher on the Neversink River this morning, one of a family of at least four I saw.

A female Belted Kingfisher on the Neversink River this morning, one of a family of at least four I saw.

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Jamaica Bay

The Tri-colored Heron doing the Umbrella Dance (shading the water) as it fed on the West Pond.

The Tri-colored Heron doing the Umbrella Dance (shading the water) as it fed on the West Pond.


This morning I headed to Jamaica Bay early to try for the Ruff that had been found yesterday. Upon my arrival I was told that the bird had been seen at first light this morning, but flushed and hadn’t been seen since. By the time mid-morning had passed, there were many people looking for the bird. It still couldn’t be found. At 9:30 I headed over to the West Pond. Tom Burke gave me some helpful hints on timing to try to locate a TRI-COLORED HERON. This bird has been a target all year and had eluded me thus far. Tom was right on the mark, half way through the rising tide, the Tri-colored Heron showed up to feed in the West Pond. Thanks Tom! Back to the East Pond. By now it had gotten quite hot and humid, and upon my return, most of the birders had departed. I spent another hour looking for the Ruff, but never found it. I decided to head home for a relaxing afternoon.
Tri-colored Herons seem to be scarce this year and had eluded me until now.

Tri-colored Herons seem to be scarce this year and had eluded me until now.

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A Great Day in the Adirondacks!

The trail into Bloomingdale Bog

The trail into Bloomingdale Bog

This morning I was up and out early in hopes of an exciting day of birding. That’s just what happened! It was a beautiful day, sunny and cool. NO BUGS! Birds were very active, singing, flying about and many feeding young. My target birds took their time to show up, but once things started jumping, they really did. I was searching the dead trees on west side of the trail. I had had Black-backed Woodpeckers in this spot three years ago and was hoping to repeat the experience. I failed to spot any and had just begun moving down the trail when I heard the familiar tapping of a BBWP. I rushed back, but couldn’t spot anything at first. Again tapping. Just when I thought I wouldn’t see the bird, two Cedar Waxwings dive bombed one of the trees and a beautiful BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER came around from the back. I took it all in, but it was short lived. The waxwings which had done me a favor continued the attack and drove the woodpecker off, deep into the woods. Just then a local birder “Ed” came along. I told him about the woodpecker and he said he had heard it from up the trail. Ed was very knowledgeable about the bog. He gave me lots of great info. I told him of my lack of Gray Jays over the two days and he was very surprised. He suggested that I just wait them out. He said there are two family groups and eventually they would be impossible to miss. He then went on down the trail. Moments after he left, I heard another BBWP up the trail in the opposite direction than the first one had flown. I rushed up there, hearing tapping again. The bird took off, much closer than the first and flew closer to the trail. I headed right up to the area and began to search in hopes of a photo. As I looked, a GRAY JAY flew in and perched near me. I got out my sunflower seed, raisin and peanut mix and it flew right onto my hand, feeding gladly. Ed came back and we enjoyed a family of three, a pair and one juvenile for quite some time. I suddenly realized I had forgotten about the woodpecker. I heard it one more time, but now quite distant. I continued to bird the bog after Ed left, but had many of the same birds, nothing new. Finally at 11:00 am I decided to head to Bigelow Road and Oregon Plains Road. I spent an hour and a half here, but things had quieted down quite a bit at midday. I decided to go for lunch and start the long ride home, very happy with the mornings results.

Adult Gray Jay

Adult Gray Jay

The Juvenile Gray Jay

The Juvenile Gray Jay

The "Crazy" Snow Shoe Rabbit. Both days of my visit, this rabbit would suddenly appear behind me. I would turn around, surprised by its presence, try to take a photo and it would do flips in the air, running off to distant locations and disappear. Ten minutes later I would turn around and the whole episode would repeat itself. I can't tell you how many times that happened. Finally, late this morning I snuck up on the crazy rabbit and got one shot of him. That must have done the trick, I never saw him again.

The “Crazy” Snow Shoe Rabbit. Both days of my visit, this rabbit would suddenly appear behind me. I would turn around, surprised by its presence, try to take a photo and it would do flips in the air, running off to distant locations and disappear. Ten minutes later I would turn around and the whole episode would repeat itself. I can’t tell you how many times that happened. Finally, late this morning I snuck up on the crazy rabbit and got one shot of him. That must have done the trick, I never saw him again.

All of the jays ate out of my hand, so I couldn't resist sticking in one of the shots of the juvenile in hand. The whole "Gray Jay Experience" alone is worth a trip to the bog!

All of the jays ate out of my hand, so I couldn’t resist sticking in one of the shots of the juvenile in hand. The whole “Gray Jay Experience” alone is worth a trip to the bog!

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Adirondack Mountains

The beautiful Adirondack Mountains in northern New York.

The beautiful Adirondack Mountains in northern New York.


This morning I headed out early to head north to the Adirondack Mountains of northern New York. The absolute beauty of these mountains never fails to impress! I actually arrived to my destination late due to my constant stopping to take in the scenery and snap a few shots. I did eventually arrive to Bloomingdale Bog. It was quite birdy, following some torrential rains just before I arrived. Highlights included White-throated Sparrow, Hermit Thrush, Alder Flycatcher, LINCOLN’S SPARROW, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher and Winter Wrens. According to a woman I met, and her excellent photos, I missed the Gray Jays by seconds. An American Bittern at this spot was a surprise to me, as were Chimney Swifts. It was a nice morning of birding and tomorrow should only get better.
Bloomingdale Bog, where I hope to find some of my target birds tomorrow.

Bloomingdale Bog, where I hope to find some of my target birds tomorrow.

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Montezuma NWR

A distant shot of the Black-necked Stilt at Montezuma NWR. My second BNST in two weeks.

A distant shot of the Black-necked Stilt at Montezuma NWR. My second BNST in two weeks.


This morning I had some errands to do in Monticello. From there, I had to go to Delaware County to do some followup on a bird reported there. I was done with everything by 9am. What was I going to do for the rest of the day? I decided, with an hours travel already under my belt, to head back to Montezuma NWR to try for the Eurasian Wigeon that has been being seen the last few days. Along with the wigeon, I could make another try for the Prothonotary Warbler. Almost immediately after my arrival I spotted the BLACK-NECKED STILT that has been present for about a week now. It hard to imagine how difficult a bird this is for New York State. My first record was in 1998! My second just two weeks ago and now to see it a third time only two weeks later is quite amazing. That wasn’t however my target bird. I searched for the wigeon without success, so I decided to give it a while and head over to Armitage Road to try for the warbler. I searched back and forth, but didn’t hear the bird singing and failed to spot it initially. As I stood along a small inlet along the river, scanning the upper canopy, a bird flew down right in front of me. I figured it would be another Yellow Warbler or Redstart. I stepped forward, looking down at the edge of the inlet, and there was the PROTHONOTARY WARBLER taking a drink from the edge! It then flew up and perched in a nearby tree giving great views. Satisfied, I headed back for the wigeon. I never found it though. 15 Sandhill Cranes and 4 Caspian Terns were the other highlights of the day! You may have noticed a lack of photos lately. I have been having trouble with my camera, which finally died. I got a new one today, so hopefully there will be more photos in the very near future.

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Long Island once again.

A rather distant shot of the Gull-billed Tern at Jamaica Bay.

A rather distant shot of the Gull-billed Tern at Jamaica Bay.

Lance Verderame and I traveled to Long Island today to try for some new year birds. We birded Robert Moses Park, Gardiner County Park, Lido Beach Preserve, Nickerson Beach and Jamaica Bay. The highlights at Robert Moses (for Lance and Jim Schlickenreider) were several Wilson’s Storm-petrels. Try as I might, I could not see these birds. At Gardiner County Park, Saltmarsh and Seaside Sparrows, Marsh Wren and White-eyed Vireo were the highlights. Nickerson Beach gave great views of a couple thousand Common Terns, a few Least Terns, gulls and Black Skimmers. Jamaica Bay provided the best bird for me, an adult GULL-BILLED TERN! There were also many Glossy Ibis, Black and Yellow-crowned Night-herons, Forster’s Terns and much more. It was a productive day. Lance added six new year birds and I added one. Always glad to connect with the Gull-billed Tern!

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Dutchess County Yellow-breasted Chat -yes!

This morning I birded the Hopeland trail in Statsburg, Dutchess County. My target bird was the YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT that has been being seen for the last couple of weeks. I birded with Katie Stewart and Eamon Frieburger. I arrived a 7:30 am and searched for a long time without success. I spoke with Carena Pooth who informed me I was in the right spot, so I continued.(thanks Carena!) At 9:30, Katie Stewart arrived. She had photographed the bird yesterday and showed me all the additional spots it was seen. We were later joined by Eamon. Finally, at 10:15 am, the Chat began to sing (toot, toot, toot, grunt, grunt) at the base of a small tree in the midst of a field of brush. Katie informed me that that was the same tree she photographed it in yesterday. The Chat stopped singing, only to start again briefly about forty feet to the left of the tree. We thought it would begin to get more active, but it never did. Once half an hour passed, we decided to leave, having to be content with just hearing it. This is a very birdy area, I had 36 species here alone. Brown Thrashers were everywhere, as were Prairie Warblers.

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