Sullivan County Grasslands Spring to life!

One of the two Black Vultures soaring over rt 17B this morning.

One of the two Black Vultures soaring over rt 17B this morning.


This morning I headed to the Beechwoods area of the county where our largest area of grasslands occur. I was seeking a target bird that has eluded me thus far this year, EASTERN MEADOWLARK. As I approached the area on Rt. 17B, I was pleased to get my FOS BLACK VULTURES! I’ve been on the lookout for these birds, but was surprised to happen upon them this morning. I continued on and had many of the common grassland species. Red-winged Blackbirds, Eastern Bluebirds and Song Sparrows were everywhere. As I drove along Gabel Road, I had my find of the day. A flock of birds took off from one of the fields, heading upslope toward me. My first thought was Horned Lark. As they continued closer to me, I realized they weren’t larks. I opened my window as they approached and was quite happy to hear them “pipiting” as they flew. I was able to jump out and count them as they flew higher in the sky, 52 birds! I have never had American Pipit in the county in March before and usually in spring they are just a few birds, so this was my highest count ever for spring. I continued on to Long Road where I ran into my first pair of American Kestrels of the day. They were actively courting and displaying to each other. As I moved on, I came across my first pair of EASTERN MEADOWLARKS! I managed to get a couple of distant shots of the birds. I continued touring the area, eventually ending up on Reum Road. Almost immediately, I ran into the flock of American Pipits. They had settled there from just over the ridge on Gabel. I couldn’t seem to get close to them without them flushing, but managed to get one shot of 20 of them as they flew into the sky before landing again in the distance. A great morning in our grasslands! Can’t wait for the rest of the breeding species for the area to arrive!
One of the pairs of Eastern Meadowlark on Long Road.

One of the pairs of Eastern Meadowlark on Long Road.


Twenty of the 52 American Pipits on Reum Road.

Twenty of the 52 American Pipits on Reum Road.

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