As stated above, there was considerable migration overnight into our area. The Bashakill was alive with birds for the second day in a row. It was quite notable how the numbers of certain species changed overnight. Today, Black-throated Green and Chestnut-sided Warblers were the most numerous warblers noted. Tennessee Warblers were singing at all stops today and I think I had six of them altogether. Yellow-rumped Warblers had decreased in number slightly. Cape May Warblers made a slight increase, at least for me. I had no less than 10 Cape Mays today, a couple more than yesterday which had been an all time high for me. BAY-BREASTED WARBLERS came on the scene big time. Though I only saw three myself, many others reported seeing twice as many as I did. The highlight of the day for me was when i was standing near the bridge on the Long Path across from the entrance to the Orchard and a MOURNING WARBLER sang out! It only took a moment to locate it and it gave fleeting nice looks for the several minutes we saw it. EASTERN WOOD PEWEES also showed up and I had several today. There were a few more Scarlet Tanagers, a species that has been relatively scarce until now. Most of the other species were in good number as well and I had a total of 24 species of warbler today at the Bashakill, two more on Gumaer Falls Road, giving me a total of 26 Warblers for the day!
PS though I only spent a short time looking, I ,nor anyone else that I am aware of saw the Chat today.
This was about as good a day as you could hope for birding the Bashakill! I arrived early after checking out some hot spots up county. It was clear there was an abundance of warblers present and there was just the right amount of birders to have many eyes, but not too close of contact. Both the Orchard/Stop Sign Trail and the Nature Trail were alive with birds. I had 8 Cape May Warblers today, a single day high for me in the county. I birded back and forth between these locations a few times today as new birds were being found. My early morning highlight was finding a BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO (below) along the Stop Sign Trail! Scott and Paula Baldinger were able to see it with me too. Highlights of the warblers included Nashville, Blue-winged, Magnolia, Cerulean, Northern Parula, Blackburnian, Chestnut-sided, BLACKPOLL and Canada! Black-throated Blue Warblers were in some of the highest numbers I’ve seen in many years. A single TENNESSEE WARBLER found by Lance Verderame on the Nature Trail was a nice find, and the first in our area. This brought the total number of species of warbler seen at the Bashakill today to 26! (22 seen by me!). A WILLOW FLYCATCHER found by Scotty Baldinger was our first empid besides the numerous Least Flycatchers. The biggest highlight of an exceptional day however was when Gary Zylkuski found a beautiful YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT right near the Stop Sign on the trail of that name. The bird was not the most cooperative, but did come up many times over the course of an hour and a half, giving most birders pretty decent views! A big thanks to Gary from all of us!! (an awful photo is above, but it is better than none) The forecast for tonight is more migration with some rain thrown in to perhaps encourage some to put down in our area. Lets keep our fingers crossed for tomorrow!
FYI – species I didn’t see: Bay-breasted, Mourning, Hooded Warblers and Louisiana Waterthrush!
Here are the results of all the teams that participated in the Break 100 Day weekend this past weekend. Kudos to all participants as this was easily the most challenging Big Day that we have ever encountered. Congratulations to all! Special congratulations to team Baldinger/Altman as they took the coveted prize, winning with 103 species!
Baldinger/Altman – 103
Haas/Verderame – 93
Graber/Sckullion/Cutler – 91
Dechon – 88
Davis/Gorton – 62
Hyden/McKeon – 52
Things really finally started to happen at the Bashakill today. 19 Species of warblers were reported, 14 seen by me. There were good numbers of all the common species, the most abundant once again was Yellow-rumped Warbler. Black-throated Blue Warblers were quite common, I had at least six. Black-throated Green were not so common, I had only two. There were a number of singles, Wilson’s, Blue-winged, Nashville and Magnolia, whose numbers should still pick up. Once again the only boreal warbler noted was Cape May, and did they put on a show! There were three males (and I heard a female was seen) feeding in the Bar Berry at the cut off to the Long Path at the back of the Nature Trail. These birds fed right in front of us as if we weren’t there. The thing that bothered them the most was each other! Every once in a while they would have to chase each other around to make sure we noticed them! My only FOS was a beautiful INDIGO BUNTING found by Steve Altman at the Orchard, thanks Steve! There were at least three Swainson’s Thrush on the Nature Trail out near the observation tower and Veery and Wood Thrush were pretty much everywhere. Vireos were a bit quiet today, I only had Warbling and Yellow-throated. There were a number of Rose-breasted Grosbeak around. I didn’t hear of any Tanagers, and still haven’t seen one since about ten days ago. Gallinules, Rails and American Bittern were all calling today as well! It was a great morning!
Addendum: I’ve changed the title to “20” species of warbler as the result of a report of a nicely photographed Palm Warbler was added to the list!
Migration has been somewhat stalled the last several days, though a number of species have increased at the Bashakill. We still haven’t had the push of boreal warblers (other than a few Cape Mays), and we should be able to look forward to an influx over the next week. Winds tomorrow are finally going to change to the southwest for about 48 hours and at this late date should bring in many new birds. Next week, a gradual switch to ongoing favorable winds should really do the trick. Right now, the Nature Trail has been the best for warblers ever since the weekend. We’ve been averaging about 15 species a day. Marsh birds have also been filling the niche for enjoyment lately with many of the birds, perhaps due to high water and low temperatures, having shown particularly well. Virginia Rails and American Bitterns have pleased many a birder over the last several days. Last evening, I went to check again for Common Nighthawk. This species has yet to make a showing and the first favorable night should bring an influx. Since it was relatively calm for a time around sunset I thought that might do it. Not yet. But I did get to watch an American Bittern display for about twenty minutes just off Haven Road. This while others were gulping in the background. Pretty neat!
This evening I headed back to the Bashakill to meet Lance Verderame to try for Common Nighthawks. Before we met I went to the Pine Boat Launch to see what I could find. It was a productive visit. I hiked up the ridge behind the Parking lot itself. This is a good area for thrush and it didn’t disappoint this evening. I had a total of 8 Veery, 4 Wood Thrush, 2 Hermit Thrush and my FOS SWAINSON’S THRUSH! As I worked my way around, I was surprised to find a beautiful male Hooded Warbler! This is always one of my favorites and only my second of the year so far. I called Lance, who was already on Haven Road and he came right over. We relocated the thrush, but the warbler eluded us this time around. We then went to Haven Road to try for Nighthawks, but it was again cold and windy and we found none. Common Gallinules, American Bittern and a Hooded Merganser were other highlights.
PS for the tick conscious among you, I had my first of season ticks this evening and several at that. Be cautious when walking off the trails.
I birded the Bashakill, Apollo Plaza, Kiamesha Lake, Morningside Park, Neversink Reservoir, Swan Lake and Fireman’s Park today. There was some movement overnight and warbler numbers were either the same or up a bit today at the Bashakill. It was clear that movement had taken place simply by the number of Solitary Sandpipers I saw today. I had 7 at the Bashakill, 2 Apollo Plaza and 5 at Fireman’s Park! After not finding a single gull on Saturday, I had 3 Ring-billed at Kiamesha, 2 Morningside Park and 12 at the Neversink Reservoir with 10 Double-crested Cormorants. There were 7 LEAST SANDPIPERS at Fireman’s Park along with the above SOSA and a single Lesser Yellowlegs. I think the bird of the day for me was my FOS AMERICAN PIPIT at the Apollo! It was a very cooperative bird and I enjoyed watching it.