Sullivan County “Big Day” 5/12/12

Arlene Borko, Lance Verderame and I formed our usual team to compete in the “Big Day” contest here in Sullivan County. We started our day at Haven Road in the Bashakill at 4 AM. We arrived to find many other teams from all over the state already present. Sean Sime and his group were there and informed us that Owls had been calling at several locations around the Bash for the last hour. We didn’t hear any at that time. We did get Common Gallinule, American Bittern, FOS COMMON NIGHTHAWK, Woodcock and Whip-poor-will in the pre-dawn hour. As the sun came up the Bashakill came to life. The dawn chorus is amazing. We quickly compiled an impressive list of birds. Warblers, Vireos, Tanagers, Grosbeaks and Orioles were all seen. Unfortunately shortly after beginning to bird the Nature Trail, Lance became ill and had to drop out of the competetion. Arlene and I continued on, tallying a decent 97 species between our down county spots ( Pine Kill Road, Yankee Lake, the Bashakill, Gumaer Falls Road and Linear Park). With it now near noon, we decided to head up county. We don’t get as many species up county, but we can get some that we aren’t able to find in the valley. We birded Apollo Plaza, Kiamesha Lake, Morningside Park, Neversink Reservoir, Hilldale Pond, Rondout Reservoir, Hunter Road, Cooley Bog and Swan Lake. We added another 14 species up county, but missed some regularly expected birds like Red-breasted Nuthatch and Golden-crowned Kinglet. Back in the valley, we picked up a few more birds including a Barred Owl. All in all, we had a decent day. We saw 21 species of warblers, four vireos, six shorebirds including FOS LEAST SANDPIPER and ended with a modest 116 species.

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