Saturday, May 06, 2017

May 6 -Veni, Vidi, Vici !

Avenged !   Following my miss of New Jersey's First State Record of the species of Little Egret on April 28, the bird was re-found once again visiting Heislerville WMA on Thursday evening and was then reported again on Friday (yesterday)..So my friends and I decided to give this bird another try.

We began our morning at the relatively nearby to Heislerville birding area of Belleplain State Forest. Here we sought out and found the specialty of this forest, the Yellow-Throated Warbler.  We heard, but did not see a Prothonotary Warbler...

Next we moved onto Heislerville WMA and found there to be quite a gale blowing. We also heard that the Little Egret was seen moments ago and had flown into the marsh.  We then drove up on the dirt road separating the tidal impoundment & the marsh and we connected with the bird !!

credit Bob Brown


This species is my 648th official ABA-species !!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

April 16 - Garret Mountain

The annual ritual of birding Garret Mountain Park has returned.  I have been visiting the park a few times recently.
The first time was on March 29 because my friend Bill E. had seen an American Bittern in the phragmites at the north end of Barbour Pond, so I went there the next morning before work and was able to see the bird.
Since April started I have made a few visits, with last weekend rewarding me with Louisiana Waterthrush, Pine Warbler, Palm Warbler, Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, Eastern Phoebe, Winter Wren, and Northern Rough-winged Swallows

With mid-April now here the new birds are starting to arrive daily.  This weekend brought in Blue-Headed Vireos, Purple Finch, and my earliest-ever Northern Waterthrush.
credit: http://www.lilibirds.com

I'll start going daily before work beginning tomorrow.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

March 25 - Brooklyn Birding

A visit to Prospect Park in Brooklyn was on tap for today.  We had a few spring migrants like the Eastern Phoebe, Pine Warbler, and Wood Duck.  An Iceland Gull was unexpected.


Our primary target was the Northern Goshawk that has been exploiting the recent heavy snowfall that covered much of the available food and has caused many birds to rely on the feeders.  After about 2 hours we saw the Goshawk in a long flight.   Soon after we again saw the Goshawk flying a shorter flight.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

March 12 - Owl Prowl

Our first stop today was in Pelham Bay Park.  We were looking for the Owls that are prevalent during the winter months.  After a short search I was able to locate some tell-tale signs of Owl activity, and then Jennifer immediately saw the bird. It was a Saw-Whet Owl.  I had not seen this species last year, so it was nice to see it again.

Next up was our search for a species that I had not seen in many years....After a short search I was able to spot an interesting silhouette, and upon further inspection the bird was revealed to be a Long-Eared Owl !!

Lastly we made a stop at Croton Point Park and were able to locate a red-phase of the Eastern Screech-Owl.



Sunday, February 19, 2017

February 19 - Owling in New York

I took advantage of a nice Sunday afternoon to head north up to the NJ-NY Stateline.  I went to the Wallkill National Wildlife Refuge at Liberty Marsh.  Here I stopped at the overlook platform along Oil City Road.
As I hoped for, just before dark the Short-Eared Owls began putting on a show. There were 4-5 owls and they were quite active.  The first one I saw had a rodent in it's talons and was flying off somewhere to eat it.
The others were hunting and interacting with the Northern Harriers.  Several times the Owls came very close, and often perched in the trees a short-distance away. the binoculars, and the scope provided great views of the owls and also a dark-morph of the Rough-Legged Hawk.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

February 11 - Nassau County birding

With snow and sleet predicted for Sunday, the regular group of 4 got together on this Saturday.  With there not being reports of many goodies being around we decided to find our own good birds.

We found the Lido Beach parking lot closed due to the snowfall from Thursday so began at Point Lookout and scanned the ocean.  There wasn't a tremendous amount of activity on the ocean although Scoters and Gannet could be seen well offshore.  Turning our attention to the Jones Beach Inlet we immediately had Razorbills leaving the bay and heading out from the incoming tide.  A Great Cormorant was on a triangle-shaped channel marker, and a single female Common Eider was seen.
We then had fine views of a handful of Harlequin Ducks at very close range, several Horned Grebes, and a flyby Bonaparte's Gull.  I could not locate any Purple Sandpipers, but Jennifer did find us a few Ruddy Turnstones.

We then went to Jones Beach with the first stop being the Coast Guard Station.  Here we had close Razorbill, Black Scoter, RB Mergs, and other commoners.  We then hiked the median of West End 2 and found numerous Red-Breasted Nuthatches, Yellow-Rumps, Juncos, etc  At the Swale we had groups of Horned Lark, Snow Bunting and a nice count of 10 Lapland Longspurs.

Heading back west toward New Jersey we stopped at Camman's Pond.  Here we saw the Black-Headed Gull as soon as we arrived.  Departing the car to take a close look the bird took off toward the ocean.

Finally we stopped at Hendrickson Park and easily located the Pink-Footed Goose that's been here since November, and also the Red-Headed Woodpecker.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

February 5 - Black-Backed Oriole

Today we went to the Keystone State to try for a potential first record for the US in the form of a Black-Backed Oriole.  The bird is visiting a feeder that is about 2 hours from my home in the town of Sinking Spring.  We arrived about 7:45 and saw the crowd in the driveway across the street from the feeders that the bird is frequenting.


We saw bird straight away.  There were some periods where it was in the center of the arborvitae, but often it was out on the platform feeder giving the assembled crowd very nice views.
credit: Franklin Haas

Afterward we stoped at Brenneman's Quarry where we saw a dozen Greater White-fronted Geese, which is the most that I have ever seen at one time.  Also seen were Redheads, Cackling Geese, Wigeons, Pied-Billed Grebes, Northern Shovelers, Ring-necked Ducks, and a Lesser Scaup.

The final stop today was at Owl Creek Reservoir.  Here we initially saw the flock of Red Crossbills flying overhead but it took us another 90-minutes to locate the flock in the trees.   We had some nice, but backlit, views of this species that I had not seen since New Year's Day 2013.

credit: J Mcclure