Bonaparte’s Gulls at the Bashakill.
Two Bonaparte’s Gulls found off Haven Road first thing this morning were still present when I left at noon.
This morning I met Scott Baldinger at Haven Road. Scott had text me that there was a Bonaparte’s Gull there. As we viewed the bird and then were scanning the ducks, another Bonie came in. This bird was in nearly full breeding plumage. Duck numbers were down. We saw no Common Mergansers. There were still 6 Hooded and 4 Red-breasted Mergansers. Ring-necked Ducks had decreased to about 90 birds. 4 Blue-winged Teal and 3 Green-winged could also be seen from Haven Road. Scott had some Scaup before I arrived, but I didn’t get to see them. As we scanned the sparrows along the road, 2 Savannah Sparrows were seen as well as many Song and Swamp and 1 Tree. There was an abundance of Tree Swallows, but I only saw one Barn. As we worked our way toward the Orchard, I heard our FOS Louisiana Waterthrush up toward South Road. We finally got on the bird briefly before it flew down toward the bridge on the trail. Scott found at least 3 more on the Stone Fields Trail later. Also of note were two Lesser Yellowlegs that flew over Haven Road. Two Killdeer and one Snipe on the Birch Trail were to only other shore birds seen. Three Horned Grebe and two Pied-billed Grebe were seen as well. Very active morning!
PS I will be away for the next two weeks. I will be off line for that period, but if you are interested in my latest adventure, tune in about two weeks from now and check out what I’ve been up to. Until then!
FOS Cliff Swallow (left bird) on Haven Road this morning.
This morning I birded the Bashakill with Wilma Amthor and Gef. Waterfowl numbers continue to decrease, with the lowest number of birds seen this morning of the last few weeks. A tremendous number of swallows were feeding off Haven Road this morning. Over 100 Tree Swallows were seen, most of which would sit on the wires from time to time. Among them was at least one each of Northern Rough-winged and Barn Swallows. The real surprise however was our FOS CLIFF SWALLOW! I thought this was extremely early, but when I checked our list, mid April is our regular arrival date, so this bird is only about a week early. Horned (3) and Pied-billed Grebes(2) continue. I heard from Scott and some others they had seen more in a couple of other areas. One female Red-breasted Merganser was at the Pine Boat Launch. I had Pine Warblers this morning, but missed Palm Warblers which were seen by Maha and Aimee. The Osprey continue to work on their nest and it appears by the adults behavior that the Bald Eagle chicks have hatched.
Osprey on the pole at the Haven Road Bridge this afternoon.
I returned to the Bashakill this afternoon to see if anything good would come in on the intense southwest winds. I was on Haven Road scanning the marsh when I received a call from Curt McDermott. Usually when I get a call from Curt I have a long distance run ahead of me. Today however, he was calling from the Main Boat Launch at the Bashakill. He and his dad had just found four BONAPARTE’S GULLS out from the launch. I shot over and we had great looks at the birds through our bins and scopes, but they never came to our side of the kill. One bird was in breeding plumage. Also present throughout the afternoon were six Horned Grebe, a Red-breasted Merganser, Osprey and Bald Eagles. Five Palm Warblers were a nice find as well. Arlene Borko, Scott and Paula Baldinger and Lance Verderame were all able to arrive to see the birds. Thanks Curt and Ken for the call!
My FOS Palm Warbler at the Main Boat Launch.
Much of the waterfowl at the Bashakill seems to have moved on with the exception of Ring-necked Ducks. There were still over 250 present. Everything else was in reduced numbers. Only 5 Horned Grebe were seen by me. Passerines however have begun to show up. Scott Baldinger called me this morning informing me that he had a nice mixed species flock at the 209 side parking lot on Haven Road. Upon my arrival, I was able to find two PINE WARBLERS that Scott had told me about, but the rest of the birds had moved on. Also at this spot I had six Golden-crowned Kinglets and one Ruby-crowned Kinglet. I had little else on several other trails, but had four PALM WARBLERS at the Main Boat Launch. Scott had had two earlier at Haven Road. I ran into a few more Kinglets of both species. Eastern Phoebes and Northern Flickers were both in good numbers. Perhaps with the southwest winds this afternoon some more things will come in.
Eurasion Wigeon found by Tom Burke and Gail Benson this morning at Wallkill NWR on Oil City Road.
As I was finishing up the morning birding at the Bashakill with Arlene Borko, I got a call from Tom Burke. He informed me that he and Gail Benson had just found a drake EURASIAN WIGEON at the Wallkill NWR on Oil City Road! I zoomed down and joined them there for great scope views of this beautiful bird. We had made a number of calls and people began to arrive. Scott Baldinger, Bruce Nott, Rob and Anthony Stone all got to see the bird. Later Matt Zeitler and Trish Davis arrived and also got to see the bird. The bird is on the extreme left in photo. Thanks Tom for the call, another great Day!
This morning Arlene Borko and I searched the hot spots of the Bashakill. It was quite birdy and Arlene got several new year birds. I was able to get one new one, FOS NORTHERN SHOVELER! We were on Haven Road when a Bald Eagle put up some ducks. I spotted three Northern Shovelers as they flew along the channel. There were two drakes and one hen. While we couldn’t find the Pied-billed Grebe I had yesterday, the HORNED GREBE numbers had once again increased. We had a total of 24 of these beauties, many again in full breeding plumage. Karen Miller informed us that she had a pair of Blue-winged Teal on the Birch Trail, but we couldn’t spot them. Green-winged Teal were again in good numbers today with 14 seen on the Birch Trail. Wood and Ring-necked Ducks were abundant. I finally spotted my first pair of Northern Pintail at the Bash as well. A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker near the Main Boat Launch was the first I’ve seen since the tremendous snowfalls and deep freezes of early February. Arlene and I ended the day with 49 species, but Scott Baldinger’s Mearn’s Club field trip had a nice 56 species! We missed the Yellow-rumped Warblers they had today, but will be out again tomorrow trying to find them as well.
A very entertaining Horned Grebe at the Main Boat Launch this morning.
This morning I went directly to the Bashakill to see if anything new had come in. There were more ducks today than yesterday and hopefully numbers will continue to increase. Ring-necked Ducks are the big numbers with over 300 seen again this morning. Horned Grebe were in several spots with a few more than yesterday, 11 seen. My FOS PIED-BILLED GREBE was in the channel out from the Main Boat Launch. Green-winged and Blue-winged Teal continue to increase. I found two flocks of teal for a total of 22 Green-winged and 5 Blue-winged seen. The Osprey pair were perched in the dead tree line across the kill, probably trying to figure out where to build yet another nest. I had my first Field Sparrow at the Deli Fields since the flock was there in January. Others present in good numbers were Common and Hooded Merganser, Bufflehead and Wood Ducks. I met Wilma Amthor at the Main Boat Launch where the highlight of the morning was a comical and confiding Horned Grebe. It was feeding on something at times only three or four feet from the shore. We were able to approach it closely and take many pics. It never seemed to shy from us even as we moved about. I also went back to Glenmere Lake this morning. Bruce Nott had called to let me know there were 9 Long-tailed Ducks there. I met him and Scott Baldinger there a while later and was happy to see a mixed species Scaup flock as well. There were actually quite a few birds present. Common Loon, Double-crested Cormorant, Bufflehead, Ring-necked Duck, Wood Duck, Horned Grebe etc. were all present. An adult Bald Eagle put many birds up for a few minutes, but they all settled back in place before I left. Great morning!