Local update


Sorry for my lack of posts. I’ve been extremely busy this week, trying to get things done that I need to do and spend as much time in the field as I can. I’m caught up for the moment, so here’s what’s been happening.  There have been many new arrivals in the area.  Ducks are dwindling in number and it will only be a short time before the last of them are gone.  Warblers are revving up with man Pines, Palms and Yellow-rumps being seen.  Golden-crowned Kinglets are starting to drop off and Ruby-crowned are really showing up now.  A couple of people have had their first Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, but I haven’t run into one yet.  Brown Thrasher (above), Savanna Sparrow, Rusty Blackbirds, Barn and Northern Rough-winged Swallows and Chipping Sparrows have all arrived. Kathy Ashman found an American Bittern on Haven Road. Greater Yellowlegs are coming through now as well. Fox Sparrows are starting to drop in number, though they made a great showing this spring. The forecast is for good migration over the weekend, hopefully it plays out that way! See you out there!

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The Perfect Storm!


If your a birder living in the Hudson Valley, a perfect storm might be one that came through in early April with winds out of the south and the storm from the southwest in the middle of the night. This storm would give migrants a tail wind and then, just as they might be tiring, weigh them down with a good soaking.  Well, that’s exactly what happened last night.  I heard from Bruce Nott and Scott Baldinger (both out earlier than I) that a significant fallout of waterfowl, gulls and passerines had taken place.  I zoomed to the Bashakill to  fulfill myself with the new arrivals.  I ended up at many locations around the county, one as good as the next.  Here is a list of the highlights from each location.

Bashakill: 7 Red-necked Grebe, 20 Horned Grebe, 1 Brown Thrasher, 3 Bonaparte’s Gulls, 7 Lesser Scaup.

Yankee Lake: 6 Double-crested Cormorants, 3 Long-tailed Duck, 2 Bonaparte’s Gulls.

Kiamesha Lake: 5 Red-necked Grebe, 1 Horned Grebe, 1 Long-tailed Duck, 4 Bonaparte’s Gulls, 2 Gadwall.

Swan Lake: 4 Ruddy Duck, 4 Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Ducks and Bufflehead.

Bashakill in the afternoon:  37 Horned Grebe!  They may have been present all along, but got together at the Main Boat Launch in the PM.  2 Long-tailed Duck. One mixed species flock of Passerines on the Duck Blind Trail.  3 Yellow-rumped Warbler, 1 Pine Warbler, 6 Palm Warbler, 8 Golden-crowned Kinglet, 1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet!

Orange County experienced a similar wave of migrants courtesy of the overnight front!




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A rather quiet weekend.


I was hoping for a good influx of birds with the warmer temps, but not much happened.  The highlights of the weekend for me were two GREATER YELLOWLEGS found at the Bashakill yesterday by Scott Baldinger.  I had no other new birds this weekend.  Other highlights worth mentioning were 48 Rusty Blackbirds on the Stop Sign Trail this morning, and several Palm and Pine Warblers.  I heard that Brown Thrasher and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers were found by Scotty, but I missed both. Lots of Golden-crowned Kinglets though.  Also, lots of Fish Crows, a dozen at least at the Bashakill.  That’s about it! Hopefully tonight will bring a whole new wave of migrants!

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There was a distinct uptake in bird numbers today. While I found no new species, there were some new birds which we hadn’t seen in a while ie. Northern Shoveler and Northern Pintail.  I had the highest spring count I’ve ever had of Wood Ducks this morning with an estimated total of 350 birds seen.  Most the these were on the Birch Trail and when flushed, it was quite a spectacle! Green-winged Teal numbers were up as well.  Ring-necked Duck were down some for me, but I didn’t search all areas.  I also had 300 Ring-necked Ducks on Wolf Lake this morning which might account for the missing birds at the Bashakill.  It began sleeting heavily part way through my visit, so I didn’t spend too much time in the woods.  I did have 8 Rusty Blackbirds on the Birch Trail.  Osprey are back at both Apollo Plaza and Kiamesha Lake. A pretty good day!

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IMG_7461 (3)

The winds continued today for the fourth straight day, and it continues to make birding difficult.  I had a quarter fewer birds today than I had had all week.  I found no warblers for the first time since Saturday. Duck numbers are way down and I had only four species today.  That said, there were some nice moments.  The adult female Bald Eagle on the Haven Road nest has been feeding two chicks since the beginning of the week.  I can’t actually see them, but you can see her picking bits of fish and dipping down on each side of the nest.  It won’t be long before they are able to be seen.  The nest at the Main Boat Launch hasn’t shown any indication of a hatch yet,  but with that site in the direct wind, perhaps they are sitting tighter than usual.  The real highlight of my day came this afternoon.  I always drive slowly along the road through the Orchard, hoping for Woodcock.  Today I was lucky and spent quite some time watching the bird poke into the mud and leaf litter looking for worms etc.  It was really an enjoyable experience, and the first I gotten to view like that this year. Other than that, its pretty quiet again.

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Bashakill continues to deliver!


Before I get started at the Bashakill, let me mention the Trumpeter Swan.  I searched the now completely open Rondout Reservoir, both Sullivan and Ulster Counties extensively this morning.  The Trumpeter Swan has departed.  It was a great experience having it here for the 39 days it remained. Hopefully it will return in another season.  At the Bashakill, Rusty Blackbirds, Palm Warblers and Pine Warblers continue. This morning I was only able to find Golden-crowned Kinglets, but this could have to do with the intense winds.  I also found only one Fox Sparrow.  The birds of the day however were a pair of LONG-TAILED DUCKS!!  Initially found by Charlie West from New Jersey, I was alerted to the birds by Scott Baldinger.  Scott relocated them at the south end of the kill and told me exactly where to look for them.  Beautiful birds!  Thanks Scott!  Ducks continue about the same, though I found no Pintail nor Hooded Mergansers today.  I didn’t spend as much time on the ducks other than the LTDU’s.  Another great morning!


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Another great day at the Bashakill!


In spite of a forecast of no migration, there was considerable movement overnight.   Highlights of a great day included PALM WARBLER (10), PINE WARBLER (3), RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET (3), GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET (20) and VIRGINIA RAIL!  Add to that my first real group of Rusty Blackbirds (14) and it all added up to some good birding! Duck numbers were way up again today with Mallard, Black, Wood, and Ring-necked Ducks in good number.  Bufflehead and American Wigeon continue, and I had my highest count of Green-winged Teal (30) at the Pine Boat Launch. Scott and Karen were out and about and were able to get most of the birds!

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