New Year Birding

Four of the five Gadwall on the Neversink River, a good winter record.

Four of the five Gadwall on the Neversink River, a good winter record.

Cedar Waxwings on the Nature Trail at the Bashakill

Cedar Waxwings on the Nature Trail at the Bashakill

Yesterday, Arlene Borko and I started the New Year birding the county to get our list started. Today, I went out and covered more areas on my own. We got the year off to a good start. Yesterday, we tallied 44 species and by the end of the day today, I had seen 49 species. We had some good birds for this time of year. Half Hardies continue to prevail. Hermit Thrush, American Robin, Carolina Wren, Northern Mockingbird and Northern Flicker were all seen. On the Birch Trail at the Bashakill, three Winter Wren were present. Cedar Waxwings were seen in several spots. Seven PURPLE FINCHES in the Town of Thompson were a nice find in a winter void of a winter finch irruption. Without a doubt, an adult ICELAND GULL was the best bird of the day yesterday. We were watching a flock of gulls at Shop Rite Plaza in Monticello when a kettle of about forty gulls circled overhead. As they descended, I first spotted an adult Great Black-backed Gull. As I pointed it out to Arlene, I spotted a white-winged gull. As it circled, I saw that P7 and P8 were gray, indicating the bird was an adult winter bird. This is the first record of Iceland Gull in the county since the landfill closed in ’09. We were thrilled. With the deep freeze continuing, water is mostly frozen in the county. Rio and Mongaup Reservoirs, The Delaware and Neversink Rivers and Rondout Reservoir are about the only open water. The Neversink River is always productive in winter and often has good waterfowl. Today as I searched its banks, I was quite pleased to find a flock of five GADWALL! While regular in spring and fall, a winter record is quite rare. Checking additional areas for waterfowl also turned up two COMMON GOLDENEYE, also a good find in winter, but somewhat more common than the Gadwall. All in all we had a productive couple of days of New Year Birding!

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2 Responses to New Year Birding

  1. scott baldinger says:

    Nice find on the Iceland! We had 89 Cedar Waxwings here yesterday perched in the trees at base of driveway and in the trees in field opposite house. We also now have 2 Swamp Sparrows visiting feeders and big numbers of Goldfinch (70) and Tree Sparrow (35).

    • The Iceland was great, wish it had put down, but they all kept going. I’ve been looking for a swamp, I may stop by to check if that’s ok. I noticed many waxwings across from your house one morning. I remember last year we (I)didn’t have them until April.

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