A good day in the county

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I finally spent a good day birding in Sullivan County today.  I have spent most of the first week of the year outside the county chasing the mega-rarities that have been being seen in nearby counties.  My best bird of the day was a Northern Harrier I found on Tazman Road in the town of Neversink (right at the Liberty town line).  The beautiful Gray Ghost had just killed some sort of animal. It was black and elongated and too larger for a mouse or mole (I think).  Also it was pretty distinctly black which most rodents aren’t.  At any rate, for some reason the bird was content to let me watch and photograph him for fifteen minutes while he completely consumed what ever he caught. This bird may have broken the curse I have on me against photographing a harrier even remotely well.  Once I moved on from the harrier, I went to Sue Rayano’s feeding station.  There were three men working on plumbing in her back yard with 22 Evening Grosbeaks sitting right overhead.  The men were making quite a ruckus and the birds never even flinched, still remaining when I left.  There were another 30 EVGR in the trees behind the yard for a total of 52!  I then worked my way to the Rondout Reservoir.  I had little along the way, but many birds there.  All the waterfowl that had spent the last couple of months on the reservoir but disappeared about ten days ago were back.  The reason I know its the same birds is that the single Ringneck Duck and American Wigeon, as well as the five Bufflehead were all present with the large flock of Mallards and Black Ducks.  Also present were Common Goldeneye and Common and Hooded Mergansers. I was able to add nine new year birds on this good mornings outing.

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