Tuesday, May 29, 2007

May 27 - Flycatcher Fun

Today I took a run up north to target a few birds that I did not see in migration this year. First up was a try for Cerulean Warbler in High Point State Park at the intersection of Route 23 & Sawmill Road. I did not hear the birds at this spot, and boy it sure was loud from all the traffic !! In the future this situation is going to get worse. Nevertheless, I then drove Sawmill Road until it's western most junction with the bow-shaped Ridge Road. Here I picked up Least Flycatcher, Great-Crested Flycatcher, and Eastern Phoebe. I also heard Eastern Wood Pewee along the drive.

Continuing on Sawmill I drove this road 'til it's end at Deckertown Pike. At this junction there is a large field that has been reliable for Alder Flycatcher in years past. 2007 continued that pattern as I soon heard the diagnostic call of "zreee-bee-o". I was able to get some nice scope looks at this bird once it had remained perched for a bit.

I then went to Stokes State Forest for another traditional spot for Cerulean Warblers. This place did not disappoint ! I heard the birds almost immediately, and it was 2 birds singing. However they were 30-40 yard deep in the woods and I could not get them to come out for a quick view. I walked in a bit but even then I could see some movements, but never got a glimpse of the bird. Oh well, there's other places and plenty of time left to see this guy later this year.

Next up was driving Route 615 south toward the Walpack Inn area. I stopped at the Flatbrook-Roy WMA, where this is some sort fo archery & shooting range in the back. Right away I saw a beautiful male Bobolink and it soon broke out in song ! I heard more Least Flycatchers here and also the song of a Golden-Winged Warbler! But it turned out to be a probable Brewster's hybrid-plumaged bird singing a buzzy "bee-buzz-buzz-buzz-buzz".
The bird mostly looked like a Blue-Winged warbler yet its wingbars were tinged quite yellow-golden. There was a trace of an eye-line but not very thick in size nor color.
There has been a Brewster's Warbler reported in this area at the Roy Tract bridge, just down the road perhaps less than a mile. Possibly I saw the same bird ? or just an oddly plumaged, and songster, Blue-Winged Warbler ?

I then went just south of Peter's Valley to the Blewett Tract fly-fishing grounds. I was still hoping for a Golden-Winged Warbler. I found a definite Blue-Winged Warbler here, alas no Golden -Winged. The bird is here, just not while I was there. Then I heard the surprising little horn-like call of a Red-Breasted Nuthatch. Sure enough in the stand of Spruce there I was able to locate the bird. Its the first time I 've seen one in quite a few months based on the mild winter that recently passed.

A quick stop at Hyper-Humus yielded a Willow Flycatcher giving it's easily detectable "fitz-bew" song. Eventually this bird too found its way into my scope's view of this other empidonax species. Also seen here was Eastern Kingbird, which rounded out a pretty good day of flycatchers seen , as well as, heard !!