Birdcast predicted no migration for us last night and the radar overnight that I viewed this morning supported that assertion. I wasn’t disappointed because I knew I was going to be tied up all morning, so what better time to have no influx of birds. After I got home today, I couldn’t make up my mind if I was going out or not. Lance Verderame called me and told me he had heard there were some good birds on Swan Lake, so that made up my mind. When there are good birds up county, they are usually in a number of spots. I know that Morningside Park is a big draw, so I headed there first. I am so glad I did! I immediately spotted five CANVASBACK!!! (above) This is the first record of this species in the county in five years! They used to occur more commonly, but in the last ten years they have been nearly non-existent. I was thrilled! I posted them to “Whats App” and Karen Miller and Diane Bliss were able to come get these great new county birds for their list! Along with them were a Double-crested Cormorant, 7 Ruddy Duck and 12 Common Mergansers. I got some shots of the Canvasbacks and then headed on to several other locations. I had no luck until I reached Swan Lake. This site had many FOS birds! RED-NECKED and HORNED GREBE, Ruddy Duck, Hooded Mergansers, BONAPARTE’S GULL, (below) Ring-billed Gull, Ring-necked Duck, Mallard and Black Duck and of course Canada Geese. What a great afternoon with so many unexpected birds coming in on a night that no one thought they would! GREAT BIRDING!
This morning, Lance Verderame and I presented the “Birds of the Bashakill” program at the Bashakill Area Associations annual meeting. The program was well received and Lance especially does a great job at presenting a great slide show of the many common and rare birds that have been seen at the Bashakill. I kind of assist with the questions and background information and we make a good team. It was then my great honor and privilege to be recognized by the Bashakill Area Association for my ongoing efforts in assisting with the education of the public about the Bashakill, it birds and wildlife and the overall environment. I really want to thank Paula Medley and the Bashakill Board for this generous tribute! I’d also like to thank Lance for always making the presentation a memorable event for all who attend!
This morning I was headed to the Bashakill when I got an alert from Scott Baldinger that he had found a juvenile Dunlin at the Apollo Plaza. I headed right up to try for some photos. The bird was present with four Killdeer. Very cooperative for photos (above). From there I headed to the Bashakill. It was still very cold and windy. It was pretty clear that many birds had left overnight. The massive flock of Yellow-rumped Warblers was still present, though perhaps slightly fewer in number. Most of the interesting sparrows were gone, leaving Song, Swamp and White-throated. A single Magnolia Warbler was across from the entrance to the Orchard. I had a total of five Hermit Thrush on the Stop Sign Trail. Two Greater Yellowlegs were flying around the marsh. As the wind died down and it warmed up, it proved to be a beautiful day.
This afternoon as soon as I finished my entries and lunch, I headed to the Bashakill to see if anything had come in there. As soon as I arrived on Haven Road, I found a VESPER SPARROW! (above) There were so many sparrows it was amazing! I posted to “Whats App” and Karen Miller and Scott Baldinger joined me. In the end, between Haven Road, the Orchard and the entrance road to the Pine Boat Launch I had 25 White-throated Sparrows, 24 Song Sparrows, 1 Savannah Sparrow, 3 Swamp, 2 Vesper Sparrows and 13 White-crowned Sparrows! Also on Haven a huge flock of warblers flew in. There were nearly 100 birds in this mega flock! Among them, 1 Palm and 1 Tennessee Warbler. Scott had a Cape May earlier in the morning, perhaps the same bird present yesterday. When I was done there, I went over to Scott’s to see the winter finches. He has over two dozen each of Purple Finches and Pine Siskins!(some below) It was quite a show, thanks Scott! A really great end to a very birdy day!
I headed out this morning with high hopes that the intense northwest winds would bring in some sea ducks and winter finches. None of that happened! What did happen was a very interesting morning of SHOREBIRDS! My first stop was Apollo Plaza. Just on a whim since I haven’t had anything there in quite some time. Today, a beautiful immature PECTORAL SANDPIPER was present, the first there this year! After taking some photos of the bird, I headed to other hot spots…Nothing! I finally arrived at Morningside Park, and it was the stop of the day! I immediately heard some GREATER YELLOWLEGS, and quickly got on them. There were eight immature birds, my highest count this year. As I watched them, some other shorebirds began flying around. I got on them in flight and once they landed, it was an easy ID, DUNLIN! My FOS and year bird for the county. Another shorebird suddenly zoomed through and I couldn’t figure out what it was at first. Small, nearly white and very long sharp wings. Once it finally settled, I realized it was a SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER! I will have to check, but I think this is the latest date ever in the county. Shortly I spotted another shorebird, aptly enough, a SPOTTED SANDPIPER! Again, this seems like a late date to me. Wow, my second stop and I’m up to five species of shorebirds! I headed right over to the college where I was pretty sure I could add KILLDEER, and I had six of them. Not the morning I was expecting, but a great one non the less! From there I hit many up county areas where I found no one has feeders out yet. I didn’t find anything of note until I was on Claryville Road I spotted a white hawk! I think its a Red-tailed, but can’t be certain.
The northwest winds overnight really did their job! In fact, the movement continued throughout the day today. I started at McDonald Road where the highlight was two PINE SISKINS, my first of the fall. Many Yellow-rumped, Palm and a single Blackpoll Warbler were seen as well as many White-throated, White-crowned, Chipping and Song Sparrows. Also present were a few Purple Finches. From there I went to the Bashakill and it was really jumping. Haven Road was extremely busy! I could see waves of birds coming into the road from out in the marsh, most being Yellow-rumped Warblers. Among them were many Palm Warblers and single Blackpoll and CAPE MAY WARBLERS!(above) The later my latest ever in the county. A Marsh Wren was present with many sparrows including White-throated, White-crowned, Song, Field and a single Savannah Sparrow. On the Birch Trail west of the Main Boat Launch, I had three HERMIT THRUSH (below) and a single GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH! A single Pine Siskin flew over the Main Boat Launch. The Deli Fields were also active with many of the same species, including a single Black-throated Green Warbler. Waterfowl wise, I had my first group of American Wigeon (4) at the Bashakill this fall out from the Duck Blind. It was one of the busiest days I’ve had in a long time and I enjoyed every minute of it! In other news, Ken McDermott had a single EVENING GROSBEAK at his feeders this afternoon just a short time of putting them up for the season! I checked ebird and there was a movement of the species into the state today, them showing up in at least four counties! I’m checking up county tomorrow!
Just like last week, this mornings low ceiling and heavy drizzle made for excellent conditions for goose migration through the valley. I started at McDonald Road where I had lots of birds, mostly sparrows and warblers. I was only there about 15 minutes when a flock of 32 BRANT flew past me! (above) These were my first of the year for the county. A Merlin kept things moving a bit, but I didn’t see it get anything this morning. From there I went to the Bashakill. I spent most of my time at Haven Road and the Birch Trail west of the Main Boat Launch. I stopped at the Deli Fields, but it was quiet there. I was only at Haven Road a short time when a flock of 21 Brant flew by me, heading east (as were the ones on McRd.). There were many Song, Swamp and a few White-throated Sparrows this morning. I had at least 35 Ruby-crowned Kinglets and a few Golden-crowned Kinglets between all my stops. A Marsh Wren on Haven Road on the east side almost to the Orchard was, I believe a new bird. Waterfowl was definitely the show of the day. A second flock of 45 Brant flew over Haven Road at 12:45 pm as Maryallison and I were talking. Also seen were 150 Canada Geese, 13 Mallard, 12 Wood Duck, 1 Blue-winged Teal and 1 Black Duck. About 30 Yellow-rumped Warbler were my only warblers there today, though I did have two Blue-headed Vireos. Great Morning!