Tuesday, May 27, 2008

May 26 - Doodletown, New York

Having sated myself on Garret Mountain with a baker's-dozen in visits this spring, I decided to start the holiday with a trip for the beautiful Cerulean Warbler, which breeds at this spot along the Hudson River, just south of Bear Mountain Bridge.

I was not disappointed, but first on the walk up I found a lovely Mourning Warbler after hearing it's song. This was the first time I had seen this species within NY State.
Also on the walk up to the Ceruleans, I had Yellow-Billed Cuckoo, Pewee, and Phoebe. A Yellow-Throated Vireo was spotted, and a few Baltimore Orioles were seen along with some Indigo Buntings. Later, a Least Flycatcher was tracked down, as was Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher.

Hooded Warblers,Blue-Winged Warblers and Redstarts were omnipresent, and I heard Worm-Eating and BT Blue as well. Parula was seen as was Yellow Warbler and B & W.

Up near the old Herbert Cemetary, as well as, in the Tree Nursery, the Cerulean warblers put on quite a show. Some were in the sun preening, others were high in the tall Sycamores, one was in a leafless tree offering great views, and others were against the green background of leaves which offered a great contrast to the azure hues of this specialty warbler.

May 25 - Garret Mountain

Spending a longer day here today, and with some good friends, yielded quite a day. Diversity was up and it began with a Green Heron making a return to the pond side. Flycatchers of Swift, Pewee, Least Fly, Phoebe, Great-Crested, and Eastern Kingbird were highlights as well. But the flycatcher of the day was the Yellow-Bellied.

Thrushes of Veery, Gray-Cheeked, Swainson's, Wood, and Robin were seen once again.

On the warbler list we had: Parula, Yellow, Chestnut-Sided, Magnolia, a late Cape May, BT Blue, Yellow-Rumped, BT Green, Blackburnian, Pine, Blackpoll, B & W, Redstart, Ovenbird, N. Waterthrush, Yellowthroat, crushing looks at Mourning, Bay-Breasted, Wilson's, and Canada for 20 species. Absolutely incredible for so late in May !!

May 24 - Garret Mountain / Halifax Road

This Saturday brought a split-day, with the first half here and then I stopped at Halifax road which is across from Ramapo College in Mahwah.

To begin Solitary Sandpiper was seen, and my friend Bill then showed me an Olive-Sided Flycatcher which he had located earlier.

Other flycatchers were Pewee, Phoebe, Swift, and GC Fly.
Thrushes seen were Veery, Gray-Cheeked, Swainson's, Wood, and Robin.

The warblers were Parula, Yellow, Chestnut-Sided, Magnolia, BT Blue, Yellow-Rumped, BT Green, Blackburnian and Bay-Breasted returned, Blackpoll, B & W, Redstart, Ovenbird, Yellowthroat, and Canada for 15 species, which is damn good for this late May date.

Onto Halifax Road for some grassy fields and streamsides next to the Ramapo Mountains.
A few Wood Duck and young were seen, as was a Yellow-Billed Cuckoo. Eastern Kingbird and Great-Crested Fly put on a show, while the breeding Yellow-Throated Vireo sang continuously in defense of his territory. Warbling and Red-Eyed were also seen.

Yellow Warblers, N. Waterthrush and Common Yellowthroats were the warblers seen here.
And it was nice to see both Baltimore and Orchard Orioles here today.

credit: wildphotosphotography.com

May 23 - Garret Mountain

Today was slightly slower here, as diversity was less than recent days. Highlights are the flycatching birds of Chimney Swift, Pewee, Least Fly, Phoebe, Great-Crested Fly.
credit Arthur Morris @ www.birdsasart.com

The vireos put in a good show with migrant Blue-Headed making a return to join the breeders of Warbling and Red-Eyed. Swallows of Rough-Winged and Barn were seen.

Warblers represented were: Parula, Yellow, Chestnut-Sided, Magnolia, BT Blue, Yellow-Rumped, BT Green, Blackpoll, B & W, Redstart, Ovenbird, N. Waterthrush, another Mourning, C. Yellowthroat, Wilson's and Canada for a total of 16 species here today seen, or heard, by me.

Sparrows of Chipping, Savannah, Lincoln's, and White-Throated continue as well.

Another report will come tomorrow...

May 21 - Garret Mountain

The Green Heron continues today and his legs are nearly red, showing his breeding colors. Both Black-Billed and Yellow-Billed Cuckoos made a quick appearance up near the "Castle" up on the East Ridge. Both Nuthatches were seen.

But the star of today was the Tennessee Warbler. Three of these were seen today, as usual, at the tops of very tall trees.
credit - Peter LaTourrette

Other warblers were Parula, Yellow, Chestnut-Sided, Magnolia, Bt Blue, Yellow-Rumped, BT Green, Blackburnian, Pine singing, Bay-Breasted, Blackpoll, B & W, Redstart, Ovenbird, N. Waterthrush, C. Yellowthroat, Wilson's again & Canada for 19 on the day.

May 20 - Garret Mountain

Back at familiar haunts, I did see a new arrival in the Green Heron which I had not seen here yet this year. Empid Flycatchers are coming in now and I saw a Willow Flycatcher, along with Least, Phoebe, and Great-Crested.

The Gray-Cheeked Thrushes continue, as does Swainson's and Wood. Cedar Waxwings showed up as well. The warblers for the day were: Nashville, Parula, Yellow, Chestnut-Sided, Magnolia, BT Blue, Rump, and BT Green continue and I heard my first Pine Warbler in some weeks. The fantastic Bay-Breasted show of this year rolls on, and Blackpoll, B & W, Redstart, Ovenbird, N. Waterthrush, C. Yellowthroat and Canada are still present. Wilson's Warbler made its first appearance for me this year.
That's a total of 18 species today.

May 18 - Southwestern NJ

A trip to look for Kentucky Warbler led me to Glassboro Woods. Fate won the day, as I did not see nor hear the desired species. All was not lost, not in the least ! Several Great birds were enjoyed , and here is the list:

My first Ruby-Throated Hummingbird of the year was pleasant to see, as was a Yellow-Billed Cuckoo. Sound records of Pewee and Acadian Flycatcher were all I could garner today, but I did get some nice views of the ubiquitous White-Eyed Vireos, which breed here. A stunning male Blue Grosbeak was along a field edge in great light.

Warblers seen and heard were the lovely Prothonotary:
credit: mdf

Also seen were Blue-Winged, Nashville, Parula, Chestnut-Sided, Rump, Blackburnian, Blackpoll, B & W, Redstart, Worm-Eating, Ovenbird, Louisiana Waterthrush, C. Yellowthroat, and Hooded for a quite respectable 16 species - but not the primary target...

To console ourselves we stopped at a spot called BrightView Farm. These landowners allow birders to visit their farm fields and overgrown pastures which host several species that are localized breeders in the State. Here Phoebe and Kingbird sallied out for insects, while Barn & Tree Swallows patrolled the open areas along with Eastern Bluebirds.

While looking at a another beautiful Blue Grosbeak we spied a Rose-Breasted Grosbeak in a tree nearby. But the true stars of the show are the resident Bobolinks. In both sight and sound they are unique and enjoyable. They are joined by both Baltimore and Orchard Orioles. Later we got glimpses of Savannah Sparrow and Grasshopper Sparrow.
credit: Gerhard Hoffman

A nice combination of birding different habitats gives you a great daylist !

May 17 - Garret Mountain

A new species, of recent days regulars, is a Great Egret that was on the pond this morning.

Later a Peregrine Falcon flew through the park. Least Flycatcher and Phoebe were seen again after a short spell where I did not see them daily. And a new thrush was in the park today, in the form of Gray-Cheeked. Of all the other thrushes, I always remark how confiding the Gray-Cheeked is. The other thrushes seem to flush farther and quicker than this cold colored bird . In fact, many times the bird just moves a meter or two, and rarely getting more than a few feet of altitude.
credit: martinreid.com

The 14 species of warbler were: Parula, Yellow, Chestnut-Sided, Magnolia, BT Blue, Yellow-Rumped, BT Green, Blackpoll, B & W, Redstart, Ovenvird, N. Waterthrush, a nice look at Mourning Warbler (which happens to be a species I missed last year because I was out of town during their main migration period), Common Yellowthroat, and Canada.

A pair of Lincoln's Sparrows put in an appearance below the white birches, near the Basketball Courts. A lone Swamp Sparrow was seen, and both Orioles gave me wonderful hues to enjoy.

May 14 - Garret Mountain

After a few days off it was nice to renew my morning ritual. Birding just an hour or two, especially here in May, before going to work is a great way to cut some stress out of your life.

To the birds...Flycatchers were light today with just Great-Crested Fly, as were the thrushes -- but sometimes that is simply a function of where you birded in the park. With all of the "micro-habitats" present here, if you bird just half of the park you can miss lots of species.

Warbler show for the day, starring: Northern Parula, Yellow, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Cape May makes a return, BT Blue, Yellow-Rump, BT Green, Blackburnian, Bay-Breasted, B & W, Redstart, Ovenbird, Yellowthroat for 14 species.

Chestnut-Sided Warbler:
credit: www.ownbyphotography.com

May 11 - Garret Mountain

This morning brought a few new arrivals. One of these species was Yellow-Billed Cuckoo.
credit: www.wildphotosphotography.com

Continuing species were: Solitary and Spotted Sandpipers, Vireos of Blue-Headed, Warbling & Red-Eyed, Swallows of Tree, Barn, and Rough-Winged, RC Kinglet, Gnatcatcher, and the now regular thrushes of Swainson's, Wood & Veery.

Todays warblers were: Nashville, Parula, Yellow, Chestnut-Sided, Maggie, BT Blue, Rumps, BT Green, Blackburnian, Bay-Breasted, Blackpoll, B & W, Redstart, Worm-Eating, Ovenbird, N. Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat, Hooded, and Canada.
credit: www.bobsteelephoto.com

Scarlet Tanagers, White-Throated and Chipping sparrows, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, and Baltimore Oriole continue as well.

May 10 - Garret Mountain

After a day's respite from this magical place I returned and had another fantastic day. The sandpipers of Solitary and Spotted were each seen, along with some flyover Common Loons looking sharp in their breeding plumage. Once again, both nuthatches were seen, along with Blue Gray Gnatcatchers. The thrush species remain the same from recent days, and here are the warblers:

Nashville, Parula, Yellow, Chestnut-Sided, Magnolia, BT Blue, Yellow-Rumped, BT Green, Blackburnian, Palm, Bay-Breasted, Blackpoll, B & W, Redstart, Worm-Eating, Ovenbird, N. Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat, Hooded & newly arriving Canada for a smashing total of 20 species today !

Here is a Worm-Eating warbler.
credit: henrydomke.com

Both Orioles were enjoyed, along with RB Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, and smart looking Americna Goldfinches.

I'll be back tomorrow morning too !

May 8 - Garret Mountain

Well, a fourth straight day here is something that is not warranted too often in my experience. Usually winds and/or weather interrupt the good birding for at least a day or two between banner days here, but this Spring is turning out to be an exception.

Flycatchers seen are Least, Great-Crested & Kingbird. BH, Warbling & RE Vireos continue. The same thrushes as yesterday.

The warbler activity was once again excellent with these species seen today:
Nashville, Parula, Yellow, Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Cape May, BT Blue, Rumps, BT Green, Blackburnian, Prairie, newly arriving Bay-Breasted and Blackpolls, B & W, Redstart, Worm-Eating, Ovenbird, Yellowthroat and Hooded, for a total of 19 species.
Another smashing morning at this unbelievable migrant trap!

May 7 - Garret Mountain

A third straight morning here with the continuing nice weather brought with it some new arrivals for my eyes.

Solitary Sandpiper was represented with 4 individuals on Barbour's Pond
credit: www.bobsteelephoto.com

Least Flycatcher was found to complement the now daily Phoebes. The continuing Blue-Headed & Warbling vireos were joined by both the Red-Eyed, and Yellow-Throated Vireos today. Once again both Nuthatches were enjoyed. Thrushes are returning with Swainson's, Wood, Robin and Veery being seen. Mimics of Catbird, Mockingbird, and Brown Thrasher were calling continuosly.

Warblers are the stars of Garret and todays list contained: Nashville, Parula, Yellow, Chestnut-Sided, Magnolia, Cape May, BT Blue, Yellow-Rumped, BT Green, B & W, Redstart, Ovenbird, N. Waterthrush and Common Yellowthroat for a total of 14 species.
Both Orioles were seen again too.
Baltimore Oriole credit: John Kormendy

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

May 6 - Garret Mountain

Hoping to parlay my luck from yesterday, I again stopped here on my way to work. This being the 4th day after the last big weather front I did not expect much, but there were many birds about.

One of the best surprises came about with three Cape May Warblers
credit: Mike McDowell

Along with them were 3 Indigo Buntings and a pair of Blackburnian Warblers - all being seen in one tree. Talk about eye-candy !!

Other warblers enjoyed this morning were: Nashville, Parula, Yellow, Chestnut-Sided, Magnolia, Black-Throated Blue, Yellow-Rumped, Black-Thorated Green, American Redstart, Palm, Black-and-White, Worm-Eating, Ovenbird, and Common Yellowthroat.

The other species seen included Scarlet Tanager (above), Baltimore and Orchard Orioles, Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks, the vireos of Blue-Headed, Warbling, and Red-Eyed, Purple Martin, and Red-Breasted Nuthatch.

Back for more tomorrow !

May 5 - Garret Mountain

After missing the banner weekend here because I was in the southern part of the state, I decided to swing by here before work today, and I was nicely rewarded..Lesser Yellowlegs and Spotted Sandpiper were noted on the pond. Insect loving birds of Chimney Swift, Phoebe, Great-Crested Fly and Eastern Kingbird were now up north as well.
credit: Scott Elowitz Photography

Blue-Headed Vireos were joined by Warbling Vireos, and both Nuthatches were seen well today.
Warblers were in force too, with Blue-Winged, Nashville, Parula, Yellow, Magnolia, BT Blue, Yellow-Rumped, BT Green, Blackburnian, Prairie, Palm, B & W, Redstart, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, and Common Yellowthroat adding up to 16 species seen today.

Scarlet Tangers and Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks put in appearances, as did both Orchard and Baltimore Orioles.

May 2 thru 4 - Cape May County

A long weekend trip here with my wife gave me a chance to get an early start on this year's migration.

In the ponds I viewed Blue-winged Teal, Gadwall, and Black Ducks. Waders were represented by both the Great, and Snowy Egrets plus Green Heron, and Glossy Ibis.

At Two Mile Landing, shorebirds seen were Clapper Rail, Short-Billed Dowitcher, Dunlin, Least & Semi-Palmated Sandpipers, both Yellowlegs, Spotted Sandpipers, Black-Bellied and Semi-Palmated Plovers, Oystercatchers and Turnstones wore their bright orange colors, and tawny Whimbrel lurked in the taller grasses. Seaside and Savannah sparrows were seen too.

On the Two-Mile beach Willet and Piping Plovers were observed, along with Sanderling

Raptors included Osprey, Bald Eagle, Red-Tailed Hawk, Merlin and both Vultures

Passerine migration at Higbee Beach and Belleplain State Park was quite rewarding too.
The first Wood-Peewee of the year headed up this group of flycatchers: Acadian, Phoebe , Great-Crested, and Eastern Kingbird. Summer Tanager was a wonderful treat, and to see if before I've tallied my first Scarlet Tanager of the year was intriguing.

White-Eyed Vireos abounded, and a few Blue-Headed Vireos were found along with the just arriving Red-Eyed Vireos. Purple Martins were staples at the State Park, as were Tree Swallows, Chimney Swift, Barns, and a few Rough-Winged Swallows.

Warblers seen were Blue-Winged, Nashville, Parula, Yellow, stunning Magnolia, Bt BLue, Yellow-Rumped, BT Green, Pine, Prairie, Black-and-White, Worm-Eating, Ovenbird, both Waterthrushes, Common Yellowthroat, Hooded and Yellow-Throated.

Blue Grosbeaks and Indigo Buntings provided for some amazing hues as well.

On the sea-watching front, it was interesting to still see Brant so late in the spring. As well as Surf, and Black Scoters. Several Common and Red-Throated Loons were seen offshore, however they are transitioning into breeding plumages now. Northern Gannets were close in shore too.
Red-Breasted Mergansers were seen singly each day.

Terns were represented by Forster's as the most common, while Common Terns were just making their return to the States waters. Several Least Terns appeared by trips end, as well as a single Roseate Tern, and a few Royal Terns. However the highlight was reserved for a Parasitic Jaeger that I spotted form St. Mary's jetty during my last half-hour before packing up and heading back north towards home.

April 27 - Garret Mountain

The spring transition is in full swing, and several species seen today will likely not be seen again until fall. That is the case with the Dark-Eyed Junco and Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers seen today.

New arrivals include Eastern Phoebes, Blue-Headed and Warbling Vireos, Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers, House Wren, Baltimore Oriole and the warblers of Nashville, BT Green, and Common Yellowthroat. Other warblers seen were Ovenbird, Yellow-Rumped, Palm, B & W, and Northern Waterthrush.

April 20 - Old Mine Road

With the winds coming out of the East quite strongly today, my friends and I decided to head west toward the Delaware Water Gap, specifically Old Mine Road. We were rewarded with some nice warbler activity for this time of year, and had both the Louisiana and Northern Waterthrushes.

Nearly a dozen Northern Parulas (above) were already on territory and in song, Pine Warbler were evident along with Palm Warblers too, and a single Yellow Warbler was a highlight. Also seen was Broad-Winged Hawk, Eastern Kingbird, Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers, several Purple Finch and Cedar Waxwings.