Audubon and Friends Too Art Exhibit

Kate Hyden has asked me to post that the above event will be taking place at the Catskill Art Society in Livingston Manor on Saturday August 8th. The Art exhibit will run 8/8 through 8/23/15. There will be a talk and reception on the 8th at 2PM. Please come join them for a nice afternoon.

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Morningside Park

Since Hilldale Pond is only a few miles from Morningside Park, I suspect that the Great Egret at Morningside today may be the same bird from Hilldale a few days ago.

Since Hilldale Pond is only a few miles from Morningside Park, I suspect that the Great Egret at Morningside today may be the same bird from Hilldale a few days ago.


The islands and mud flats at Morningside are making a very slow appearance. They are currently at only about 7% of where they should be. That said, a few birds continue to show up. I think that the small area of habitat is the reason they seem to move on each day. Other than the Killdeer and Spotted Sandpipers, I believe the other species have been new birds each time I go. Here is the list of birds of note this morning.

Killdeer 3
Spotted Sandpiper 3
Least Sandpiper 13
Great Egret 1
Great Blue Heron 2
Green Heron 1
Belted Kingfisher 1

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Common Gallinules Continue

Adult Common Gallinule by the bridge on Haven Road.

Adult Common Gallinule by the bridge on Haven Road.


Not much happening anywhere today, but the Common Gallinules continue along Haven Road right by the bridge. A few years ago, the congregating young gallinules all remained by the bridge for nearly two months. There were a total of 16 of them. Though it might be to early to say that’s what’s going to happen, between five and seven have been there the past week. Today, there were seven. They are really quite confiding, I walked all around watching them without a problem. After about ten minutes, a family drove up, jumped out of the car making a real racket. The gallinules all retreated into the weeds at that point.

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Around the county

A Great Egret sits high in a tree at Hilldale Pond where it was chased by a Great Blue Heron.  When if finally went down to the pond again, the GB chased it until it flew off entirely.

A Great Egret sits high in a tree at Hilldale Pond where it was chased by a Great Blue Heron. When it finally went down to the pond again, the GB chased it until it flew off entirely.


I spent a little time in a number of locations again today. I started at the Apollo. 2 Green Herons, 14 Killdeer and 2 Solitary Sandpipers, and a Kingfisher were all that was there (Osprey too). From there I kayaked Morningside Park. The plovers from yesterday were gone. A Greater Yellowlegs (flew out while I was there), 2 Least Sandpipers, 3 Spotted Sandpipers and 1 Semipalmated Sandpiper were present. Also a Kingfisher was here as well. From here I checked the Neversink, not a bird. On to Hilldale Pond. A Great Egret and a Great Blue Heron were there among quite a few Wood Ducks. The Great Blue chased the Egret continually until it finally flew off. Down to the Bashakill. A brief visit yielded the ongoing Gallinule family near the bridge, a Bald Eagle and a Fish Crow. Things are changing daily all over the county and its always worth a check of the hot spots.
The Common Gallinule family hangs out near the bridge quite regularly, if your lucky you might get to see them.  The chicks are nearly full grown, but not yet flighted. The wings are currently covered in pin feathers.

The Common Gallinule family hangs out near the bridge quite regularly, if you’re lucky you might get to see them. The chicks are nearly full grown, but not yet flighted. The wings are currently covered in pin feathers.

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Apollo Plaza and Morningside Park

One of two Semipalmated Plovers at Morningside Park today.

One of two Semipalmated Plovers at Morningside Park today.


Out again this morning to check for shorebirds. We had some rain in the early morning hours and I was hoping it would help put something down. I was surprised upon my arrival at Apollo to find only the ongoing Green Heron and a single Least Sandpiper. I would return later to check it out again. Remember, the birds at Apollo filter in and out between there and the settling ponds at the landfill. On to Morningside Park. I kayaked out to the first set of mud flats which have increased in size, but only slightly. There were birds there. 2 Killdeer, 3 Spotted Sandpipers and our first of the fall SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, 2 of them. Many other typical species for this spot continue, but I spent most of my time with the shorebirds. The plovers were very cooperative for photos and I took far to many. From there, I went on to check out the reservoirs. Lance Verderame had called to tell me he had found a phalarope on the Pepackton Reservoir. The distance prevented him from getting it down to a species, but he wanted to alert me that phalarope was a possibility. There were two Osprey and a Common Merganser at the Neversink, nothing else. At the Rondout, many common species were present, but nothing noteworthy. Two Double-crested Cormorants being the best birds. I then returned to Apollo, where I found a few more birds had come in. 6 Least Sandpipers and 4 Killdeer were now present. With the ongoing thunderstorms today, maybe some more good birds will put down.

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Apollo Plaza National Wildlife Refuge

Green Heron catching unknown prey at the Apollo.  Does this look like a parking lot?

Green Heron catching unknown prey at the Apollo. Does this look like a parking lot?


Ok well that’s a stretch, but sometimes this spot is just so nice to bird that I think it is something very special. That’s how it felt this morning. I stopped to see if any shorebirds had come in and didn’t spot anything initially. As I stood there observing the pair of OSPREY tending their chicks high on the lamp post, I noticed movement in the cattails. A beautiful adult GREEN HERON came out of the patch and began hunting. It kept catching something that I really am not sure what it was. Perhaps polliwogs or Dragonfly larvae. Either way, it always put up a fight before it was ultimately downed. As I watched, taking photos here and there, there was more movement. Out of the grass at the edge of the pond came four LEAST SANDPIPERS! A young man came over, asking questions about the Osprey and the spot. He was amazed as he put it that “nature takes itself back in a very short time”. He watched the birds with me and more and more arrived. First, two SOLITARY SANDPIPERS flew in, joined shortly by a SPOTTED SANDPIPER. Eventually, the six KILLDEER that had been running around the parking lot joined the happenings. As all this was happening, about a dozen CLIFF SWALLOWS and BARN SWALLOWS flew in, drinking on the wing. The young man seemed amazed at everything that was going on and couldn’t believe it was just an old parking lot. Whenever something like that happens, it allows me to see my birding spots through different eyes and in a whole new light. It was a nice experience and I’m glad he got to enjoy it. From there I headed to Morningside where I kayaked again. Things were about the same there, but I finally got my first of the year county LESSER YELLOWLEGS! A really nice morning overall!
Two Solitary Sandpipers pick insects from the water.

Two Solitary Sandpipers pick insects from the water.


Lesser Yellowlegs at Morningside Park.

Lesser Yellowlegs at Morningside Park.

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Morningside Park

One of our first of fall Semipalmated Sandpipers at Morningside Park. A Least Sandpiper is to its right.

One of our first of fall Semipalmated Sandpipers at Morningside Park. A Least Sandpiper is to its right.


I spent a couple of hours birding Morningside Park by kayak this morning. Conditions at Morningside have been poor for shorebirds so far this season. Cool temperatures and high rainfall throughout the month of June have slowed the natural process that brings many islands and mud flats to the surface. Currently, the process is about three weeks behind its natural time frame. Islands are only just beginning to emerge, but hopefully they will be up for the month of August, that will be the peak time for shorebirds. That said, some of the permanent islands have low lying areas that offer some mud flats and did have a few shorebirds this morning. I had 6 Least Sandpipers, 2 Semipalmated Sandpipers (first of the fall), 1 Spotted Sandpiper and 1 Killdeer. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that this is just the beginning of a good shorebird season. I also checked out Apollo Plaza for shorebirds, but only 1 Least Sandpiper and 4 Killdeer were present.

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