Orange Lake RED-NECKED PHALAROPE, Orange County

ATTENTION: ORANGE LAKE HAS NO PUBLIC ACCESS! My apologies for any misunderstanding this may have caused. The lake is private and there are no public viewing areas.

Click on the photo to enlarge, then use the icon magnifying glass to bring it in closer.  Though the photo may not be completely identifiable, our scope views and Matt's photo are.

Click on the photo to enlarge, then use the icon magnifying glass to bring it in closer. Though the photo may not be completely identifiable, our scope views and Matt’s photo are.


On Friday 5/22, Bruce Nott found a phalarope on Orange Lake. The bird was quite distant and though viewed by several people, the definite identity was not able to be discerned. Wilson’s and Red-necked Phalarope were both possibilities. This morning, Bruce found the bird again and notified several of us of its ongoing presence. Matt Zeitler called me a short time later to say he was on the bird but it was distant. I went over to find that Matt had the bird in his scope. It was much closer now and its identity was clear. It was a female breeding plumaged RED-NECKED PHALAROPE! I was able to reach Bill Fiero and he was able to come over and see the bird as well. At one point it was even closer, and Matt got some decent photos of the bird. I got some very grainy distant shots, one of which is attached. Thanks to Bruce and Matt for following up on this great spring bird!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bashakill today.

Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird on nest.

Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird on nest.


I hadn’t been to the Bashakill in a few days, so I wanted to see what was happening. Everything was about the same. All the regular breeding species are present in good numbers. I found one small flock of migrants that included a Blackburnian Warbler, two Canada Warblers and a Blackpoll. That was it. Earlier in the week I had found a hummingbird building a nest. I wanted to see how it was coming along. I relocated it, and she is apparently setting on eggs. I will keep a check on this nest (from afar, my shot was taken 40 ft away) and see how it makes out. My one concern for the nest is there is an abundance of cuckoos in the area and if I spotted it, I would think they would too. We’ll see what happens.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Little Egret – Gardiner County Park, Suffolk County Long Island -click on photos for best viewing size

Though my shot is distant, it clearly shows the blue-gray lores and long plumes characteristic of the species.

Though my shot is distant, it clearly shows the blue-gray lores and long plumes characteristic of the species.

This morning, Bill Fiero and I headed to Long Island to try for the previously reported LITTLE EGRET. Upon our arrival at Gardiner County Park, we met Pete Morris (congratulations Pete on a great find!) who informed us that the egret had been flushed by a passing helicopter and flown out over the South Bay. We spent the next hour waiting out the bird, but it didn’t show. We decided to go for lunch and come back when we were done. Tom Burke and Gail Benson were aware that we were looking for the bird, and as we finished lunch, Gail called to tell us the bird had returned to the park (thanks Gail!). We headed over to hear that the bird had flown up the creek, out of sight. Again we waited with many others, but eventually the bird flew back out along the shore and eventually out into the marsh much closer to us. I was able to get a few shots of the bird before it again flew off with a Snowy Egret. Great bird!! Other birds of note for us up-staters were Glossy Ibis, Snowy Egret, Great Egret, Willet and Salt Marsh Sparrow.

Little Egret at Gardiner County Park, Suffolk County.

Little Egret at Gardiner County Park, Suffolk County.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Another interesting day

Two, two inch tall Killdeer chicks crossing the parking lot.

Two, two inch tall Killdeer chicks crossing the parking lot.

This morning I got a call from Lance Verderame that he had found a Semipalmated Plover at the Apollo Plaza. (thanks Lance!) I headed up there a short time later thinking I was going to just snap a shot of the plover and take off. It ended up being a very interesting morning in this unlikely (though excellent) spot. I immediately found the plover, it was calling continually just as Lance had said. I then saw the three Least Sandpipers that have been around for a few days. As I watched them, the Killdeer were going nuts. I looked to my left, and two tiny newly hatched Killdeer chicks were waddling along. The parents were trying to get them to better cover, or I would have never seen them. Though common, I never tire of watching these great birds with their chicks. I was able to get a couple of shots of them. As I was watching them, I then heard the familiar call of courting Spotted Sandpipers! The trio of birds, also present for a while, were displaying with aerial feats and calling as they flew up and down in the air. I think, since they have been there a while, they are going to breed here. I guess I disturbed them (or maybe not, I was all the way on the other side of the pond) because as one of them flew up in display, it flew over and landed on top of the old mall building. It was quickly joined by the other two and the courtship continued up there. That would be a great place for their nest if the building isn’t demolished in a few weeks. As all of this was going on, the Cliff Swallow Colony was very actively building its nest in a new location. Instead of the center of the building, they were building up under the canopy at the far left side of the mall. They kept coming out right near my car, collecting mud for their nests. I finally tore myself away and headed over to Kiamesha Lake to see if anything had come in there. Fortunately, our FOS WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, 12 of them, had come in during last nights storm and were resting on the lake. With so much going on, I called Arlene Borko and she came over and saw the scoters, then we went back to the Apollo where she got all the other birds as well. When I went home for lunch, I got a text from Rob Stone informing me that shorebirds had come in in Orange County as well. I ended up heading down to Six and Half Station Road where I met Bruce Nott, Linda Scrima and Maria. Thanks to Rob and all of them for their help. They quickly pointed out all the birds present. The highlights for me were 51 Short-billed Dowitchers and 2 breeding plumaged Dunlin. A great day overall.

Cliff Swallows at the Apollo Plaza collecting mud for their nests.

Cliff Swallows at the Apollo Plaza collecting mud for their nests.

Semipalmated Plover

Semipalmated Plover

12 drake White-winged Scoters at Kiamesha Lake.

12 drake White-winged Scoters at Kiamesha Lake.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Oranges at feeding stations

This morning I sat having my coffee, watching the front yard. The bird activity was noticeable and as I was enjoying the goings on, I decided to take a few pictures. First, I take a few minutes each spring to recommend the practice of using Oranges to attract birds to you yards. Once again, this year was the perfect year to get started. The cold weather had the foliage and insects coming out later than ever and the newly arrived birds were looking for alternate food sources. I recommended oranges to several people and a couple of them had orioles right off the bat!

The typical bird  feeding on oranges is the Baltimore Oriole

The typical bird feeding on oranges is the Baltimore Oriole


Since I have been feeding oranges for about ten years now, I long ago attracted other species to my yard to feed on them. The other two species feeding on my oranges daily are the Red-bellied Woodpecker and Gray Catbird. I have a pair of each of these birds daily and its comical to see them lined up waiting their turn at times.
Red-bellied Woodpeckers absolutely love oranges and will feed on them year round if provided.

Red-bellied Woodpeckers absolutely love oranges and will feed on them year round if provided.


My Gray Catbird pair head directly to the Lilac Bush for their oranges the moment they arrive each spring.

My Gray Catbird pair head directly to the Lilac Bush for their oranges the moment they arrive each spring.


I have had Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers at my home for as long as I can remember. They have never joined the other birds in eating the oranges. This spring, they arrived very early, March, and the food supply was at a minimum. It didn’t take long before they mimicked their Red-bellied cousins and started feeding on the oranges. I now have a pair at the oranges every day, and I’d imagine that like the other birds, their hooked!
a female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker enjoying a meal.

a female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker enjoying a meal.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bashakill Sunday Morning

A female Hooded Warbler on the Nature Trail

A female Hooded Warbler on the Nature Trail


Though I was a bit tired out this morning, Arlene Borko and I headed out to the Bashakill to see what had come in. There were lots of birders around, and it was quite birdy. The bird family of the day had to be the flycatchers. We had our FOS OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCEHER perched in the usual tree on the Stop Sign Trail. Eastern Wood-pewee, Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Kingbird, Willow, Least, Great Crested and Alder Flycatchers were all seen and heard! Warbler numbers were down somewhat. A nice find for me was a female Hooded Warbler. I seldom see females, and its rare for me to get a shot of one. Just a few short walks and I was done for the day.

Olive-sided Flycatcher on the Stop Sign Trail

Olive-sided Flycatcher on the Stop Sign Trail

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Busy Few Days! Mearn’s Bird Club Break-a-hundred Day!

A beautiful male Orchard Oriole, one of six we had on our count.

A beautiful male Orchard Oriole, one of six we had on our count.


Friday morning I started off at the Bashakill to see if anything new came in. For me, it hadn’t. I then headed to Orange County to do some scoping for the Mearn’s Bird Club Break-a-hundred competition that was to start at 4pm that afternoon. I went to Six and a Half Station Road to see what was around. It was very birdy and I was pleased with what I found. I then headed home to rest up for the start of the race. I met my team mates (Karen Miller, Jeff Goulding and Lisa O’Gorman) at Port Orange Road at 3:45 pm. We started promptly at 4pm and had plenty of birds there. Half a dozen species of warbler, some hawks, tanagers, orioles etc. From there, we headed right over to Six and a Half Station Road, hoping some of the birds I had seen earlier were still around. A nice assortment of shore birds included Lesser Yellowlegs, Semi-palmated Plover, Least and Spotted Sandpipers and a Killdeer. In the marsh, Swamp Sparrow, Marsh Wren and a calling LEAST BITTERN were all nice finds. A pair of Orchard Orioles was a nice add as well. A pair of Lesser Scaup, which I had found earlier in the day, continued and though quite late were a good add for the spot. From there we went to Mine Torn Road in West Point. We began adding new birds immediately and were pleased with the results. Blue-winged Warbler, Common Nighthawk, American Woodcock and eventually Whip-poor-will were all added. We did some owling, but didn’t find any. Home by 11pm and up at 3am, We met the next morning in Goshen in the pouring rain. Fortunately, it didn’t last to long and we eventually dried out. We were trying once again for the Virginia Rail that I had had during the day yesterday, but that we missed last night. No luck. We did have the Least Bittern again, who must have decided he was on our team. He called and called, as we were hoping he’d come into view when he suddenly went quiet. We watched for movement for several minutes without a peep when we noticed another team coming up the trail. The bittern never said another word while the team stopped and chatted. Five minutes after they left, he began to call again. We then headed to Laurel Grove Cemetery. Since there were other teams there, we decided to go to Box Baum Reservoir and return later to the cemetery. We did relatively well at the reservoir, adding a number of species, and getting to watch a pair of Brown Creeper going in and out of their nest behind a large patch of bark on a tree. From there we went to the Hawks Nest. This is a winding stretch of road on a cliff perched high above the Delaware River. I had been made aware of a pair of nesting PEREGRINE FALCONS there by a friend of mine. The moment we stepped out of the car we saw them both swooping through the air and eventually landing on a dead snag and copulating! It was a neat experience. We returned to the cemetery, which apparently had become less active (we were told later there had been an abundance of birds there), though we didn’t realize it. We had half a dozen species of warbler there including our first Northern Parula and Blackpoll Warblers. Eagle eyed Karen Miller spotted a roosting COMMON NIGHTHAWK in a large oak tree! We had quite a few birds here. We then headed to Oil City Road, where Winding Waters Trail was rather quiet. We did add Semi-palmated Plover and Greater Yellowlegs at one of the flooded fields, and a Semi-palmated Sandpiper at the Camel Farm. Pochuck Mountain trail provided our first Black-throated Blue Warbler and Rose-breasted Grosbeak. We eventually headed to Sterling Forest where we found Hooded Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush and Golden-winged Warbler. On to the Newburgh Waterfront we added Ring-billed Gull and Fish Crow. A fast ride to Montgomery and Rt. 17K, we picked up our last bird of the day, Purple Martin! We ended our day with 106 species, only taking 4th place, but had a great time! Congratulations to the other teams that took first, second and third place! Thanks to Karen, Jeff and Lisa for a great Break!
Our group celebrating our 100th species for the day, Bank Swallow!

Our group celebrating our 100th species for the day, Bank Swallow!


The Common Nighthawk found by Karen Miller at the Laurel Grove Cemetery

The Common Nighthawk found by Karen Miller at the Laurel Grove Cemetery

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments