I did an extensive search of the Bashakill this morning in an attempt to relocate the Little Blue Heron found yesterday. I covered all vantages from Westbrookville to Moose Head Cove on the Stop Sign Trail. I was unable to find the bird. That said, it doesn’t mean it has gone. I had a tough time with the Egrets this morning. They were spread well across the marsh from the Main Boat Launch to the Pine Boat Launch. I was able to spot 8 of them, but it is still tough to get good looks in most areas due to the dense high vegetation. All of the birds that I finally got clear looks at were indeed Great Egrets, but a Little Blue, at half the size of a GREG would not even show up in many areas. I will keep a close lookout for this bird (as will Scott Baldinger) over the next several days in hopes that it will again be seen. Keep you posted! Otherwise, it was a typically good day of birding. Mary Buskey and I covered many areas. Herons, Egrets, Thrush, Warblers, Eagles, Gallinules and Kingfishers were all seen. Good morning.
The gorgeous Little Blue Heron on Haven Road today! This is the first record of this species in the county in my 24 years of birding!
This morning I headed to Orange County to try again for the Connecticut Warbler that has been being seen the last four days. I met Maria Loukeris and Curt McDermott there, already looking for the bird. We searched for nearly two hours and decided to call it quits. On our way out, we found the bird. It was in the section pf the trail I call the “tunnel” due to its being completely covered by the forest canopy. We had fleeting glimpses of the bird, but it was definitely the Connecticut! A new Orange County bird for me! From there I headed back to Sullivan to bird the Bashakill. I had only made it half way back when I got a call from Scott Baldinger. He and Bruce Nott had found a ‘LITTLE BLUE HERON” off of Haven Road while he was leading the Mearn’s Bird Club Field Trip. I zoomed on over to find everyone watching this great bird. This is one I’ve searched for in the county for 24 years! At last! I called all of my friends and most of them were able to arrive and see the bird. It remained in view for the next two and a half hours. Linda Lou Bartle arrived, with her kayak in tow. She offered to let me use it to go out to the bird to get some better photos. I did just that! Upon my return to shore, Arlene Borko and Ken and Curt McDermott also arrived. There were also Great Blue Herons (4), Great Egrets (3) and a Common Gallinule and Belted Kingfisher to entertain. At the last thing, three American Pipits flew in to join the performance. Just as we finished watching them, the Little Blue Heron took off. It circled us once and them flew off to the central part of the marsh between Haven Road and the Main Boat Launch. There it settled again, out of sight. I suspect that this bird may continue for some time, as with low water levels, the Bashakill offers a perfect location for it to feed to its content. As I kayaked out, frogs and fish could be seen everywhere. Great Birding! Thanks to Scott and Bruce for finding the heron and getting the word out, and also to Rob Stone and Matt Zeitler for finding and keeping us posted on the Connecticut Warbler! Other good birds on the Winding Waters Trail this morning included a Tennessee Warbler and Lincoln’s Sparrow!
LIttle Blue Heron!
The Little Blue Heron flies past us on Haven Road.
This Long-billed Dowitcher has mostly transitioned to basic plumage.
This morning I headed to Cayuga Lake’s north end to try for the BROWN BOOBY that has been being reported since Saturday. I decided to head up the west side of the lake as I had seen that many of the reports came from Cayuga Lake State Park on Lower Lake Road. This paid off nicely as I was immediately able to spot Buoy #49 and the booby was sitting on it as predicted! At first, the bird sat flat on the lower portion of the buoy. Shortly, a Great Black-backed Gull flew in and landed on the water. The Booby stood up, assuming a distinct booby silhouette. It then began to preen. It soon started flapping its wings rapidly, but didn’t take flight. As it did this, its white belly and dark brown breast showed nicely. Though the views were distant, they were diagnostic to species. Photos weren’t possible with my camera. From there I went to Montezuma NWR to try for several species that have been being seen recently. I dipped on Eurasian Wigeon and White-rumped Sandpiper even though they were reported today. I did however have great looks at a LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER! This bird is always a challenge for me. Even though I have finally gotten the juvenile Longbilled’s down, adults are still tough. I know that they have been being reported at the marsh for some time, but this was the only individual present this morning. A group of us discussed the ID. Due to the hunch-backed stance, brown under-belly right to the vent and the heavily barred tertials (Alternate) and the very long bill, we concluded it was indeed a Long-billed Dowitcher. Can’t wait for the day this one just comes naturally like most other birds.
Long-billed Dowitcher – note the hunch back and the lack of white in the under-belly.
My first Lincoln’s Sparrows of the year in the county were at the Deli Fields near the Pine Kill this morning.
I birded the Bashakill with Bob and Mary Wexler this morning. We started at the Deli Fields where there was a good movement of birds. Highlights here include my county FOY LINCOLN’S SPARROW, Philadelphia Vireo, Blue-headed Vireo, Brown Thrasher and many Palm Warblers. Also present were 15 Northern Flicker, Eastern Bluebirds, Phoebes, Scarlet Tanager, Eastern Pewee, Cedar Waxwings, Song and Field Sparrows. From there we headed to the Nature Trail. Things were somewhat quiet here but a Northern Parula, American Redstart and Hooded Warbler, all gorgeous males, were seen. On the marsh, Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons, Northern Harriers and Bald Eagles were all seen. Really nice morning of birding!
This Brown Thrasher was feasting on Virginia Creeper berries in the Deli Fields this morning.
Four of the seven Royal Terns at Cupsogue County Park today.
With migration at a stand still here in Sullivan County, Lance Verderame and I traveled to Long Island this morning to see if we could pick up some new year birds. It was a good day with Lance picking up three new birds and I picking up one. We birded Robert Moses, Jones Beach, Shinnecock Inlet and Cupsogue County Park. Highlights of the day included Common, Forster’s and ROYAL TERN, Piping and Black-bellied Plover, RED KNOT, LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL, Common Eider, Merlin and Peregrine Falcon. We ended a good day with 55 species!
Most of the 29 Great Egrets present at the Bashakill the last two days can be seen in this shot.
We finally had some good movement overnight with our first northwest winds in some time. A good rain storm just before dawn also helped and we had a lot of birds put down. There were many birders out this morning enjoying the influx of birds. At the Orchard off Haven Road we had a nice assortment of warblers and vireos. Black and White, Northern Parula, Chestnut-sided, Black-throated Green and Blue, American Redstart and Magnolia Warbler were all seen. Vireos included Blue-headed, Red-eyed and Yellow-throated. I heard a Bay-breasted was seen, but not by me. From there we went to the Nature Trail. Here we added Common Yellowthroat and Ovenbird. The vireos increased as well, adding both Warbling and PHILADELPHIA VIREO! Other nice finds here included Wood and Swainson’s Thrush. I also heard that Tennessee and Palm Warblers were seen, but again, not by me. The 29 Great Egrets continued on the marsh off Haven Road as well. All in all, an eventful morning.
My first of the fall season AMERICAN PIPIT at Morningside Park today.
For anyone wondering where my usual posts have been recently, the above title says it all. The constant south/southeast winds we have been having have all but halted what little migration that had been taking place. With that said, there are still some interesting birds to be seen. The Great Egret show at the Bashakill continues. Today, Karen Miller and I saw at least 20 Great Egrets, most of them in the back bay by the Pine Boat Launch. Common Gallinule juveniles continue along Haven Road, though adults haven’t been seen in several weeks. Merlins seem to show up quite regularly to keep everything moving around. At Morningside Park, the shorebird show has also become stagnant. The same half a dozen species are being seen, with some change over of individuals, but no new species for the year showing up. This has been one of our best years for SEMIPALMATED PLOVER with anywhere from one to seven individuals being present. Today, there were three. One first of the season that did show up this morning was a fall AMERICAN PIPIT! I just love it when these birds begin to arrive. Though rather subtle, they are really quite beautiful. By the way, the habitat at Morningside is just perfect with an abundance of mud flats. Now if we can just get some birds moving. I am just keeping my fingers crossed that we will soon be getting and influx of vireos and warblers which have all but disappeared over the last several days. Lets hope for some northwest winds accompanied by some much needed rain!