Sunday, May 31, 2009

May 31 - Mount San Jacinto

Much like Tucson's Mount Lemmon, one can escape the desert heat here in SoCal by going up the beautiful Highway 74 to the top of this sky island.

Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Swainson's Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Red-Tailed Hawk
California Quail
Gambel's Quail
Band-Tailed Pigeon
White-throated Swift
Anna's Hummer
Black-Chinned Hummer
Acorn Woodpecker
Nuttal's Woodpecker (#580)

White-Headed WP
Olive-sided Fly
Western Pewee
Ash-Throated Fly
Western Kingbird
Loggerhead Shrike
Stellars Jay
Western Scrub Jay
Pinyon Jay (#581)
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Oak Titmouse
Mountain Chickadee
WB Nut
Pygmy Nut
Bewicks Wren
Vaux's Swift
Western Bluebird
Cal. Thrasher
BH Grosbeak
Spotted Towhee
Cal. Towhee
Black-Throated Sparrow
Black-Chinned Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Oregon Junco
W. Meadowlark
BH Cowbird
Red-winged BB
Brewer's BB
Bullock's Oriole
House Finch
Lawrence's Goldfinch
Lesser Goldfinch

May 30 - LAX to Palm Desert

A long flight, followed by a long drive. I saw a few regulars near the airport, but nearly all of today's birds were on the hotel property, which includes a golf course.

Canada Goose
Green Heron
Black-crowned Heron
Cooper's Hawk
White-winged Dove
Purple Martin
Rough-Wing Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Great-Tailed Grackle

More birds tomorrow...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

May 23 - Doodletown / Mine Road

My friends and I arrived here at first light and worked our way up to Lemmon Road. Soon after Jennifer heard the Kentucky Warbler singing and we got in position to see it. It took us a few minutes but we finally spooted the songster high up in the trees about 80 feet off the ground.

The bird stayed here and sang virtually non-stop from the same perch spot for over 20 minutes. We all had fantastic looks at the bird. This was only the second time I have seen this bird, with the life bird coming back in May 2006 at New Jersey's Belleplain Forest.

Here we also saw several Ceruleans:

Next we went to nearby Mine Road, which runs through part of the West Point Military Academy's land. Our target here was the Golden-Winged Warbler and we were able to see this bird as soon as we arrived.

Here too we saw Ceruleans, with even better looks then at Doodletown.

Friday, May 15, 2009

May 15 - Speed Birding

I stopped here for one hour before work today. The numbers were low, but the diversity was high.

BT Blue, BT Green, Yellow-Rump, Bay-Breasted, Nashville, C. Yellowthroat, Maggie, Parula, Blackpoll, Black & White, Blackburnian, Ovenbird, Canada, Chestnut-Sided, and Redstart.

Yellow-Billed Cuckoo and Scarlet Tanger were also seen.

Monday, May 11, 2009

May 10 - Cape May specialties

I briefly visited Belleplain Forest for the breeding specialties of Yellow-Throated Warbler and Summer Tanager. Both were seen quite easily along Pine Swamp Road, withe the Summer Tanager begin found at the junction of this road with Sunset Road.

A male Hooded Warbler also put in a nice appearance, and many other species were "heard-only" as I only had a short time here.

Next I went ot the Cape May Meadows for the previously reported Black-Necked Stilt and the bird was seen foraging out in the open on the Plover Pond which is just behind the dunes on the West path. This is NJ State Bird # 344 for me.
credit: Howard's View

I was unsuccessful in seeing the Swallow-Tailed Kites that had been around for 4-5 days but a consolation was 3 different Mississipi Kites in plumages of Juvenile, Sub-Adult, and Full-adult.

Alas, adding the Swallow-Tailed to my list will have to come in the future...

Saturday, May 09, 2009

May 9 - Cape May Day at Garret

Today was my best ever day for Cape May warblers as over 10 were seen by me today, and I suspect many more were in the park too.

I found two Olive-sided Flycatchers and of the total 86 species seen today 22 of them were warblers. Always a highlight is the Bay-Breasted Warbler.

Both cuckoos were seen well, as were Least Fly and Eastern Wood-Pewee, several Great Crested Flycatchers and Eastern Kingbirds were also present.

A Common Nighthawk was perched in the tree normally reserved for the Orchard Oriole.

more to follow when time allows

Friday, May 08, 2009

May 8 - Morning at Garret

Another excellent morning at the park today. I saw/heard 22 species of warbler & missed at least 4 other species seen by friends. Another highlight was a White-Eyed Vireo, a bird that I seldom see in spring here.

First birds of the year for me were Eastern Kingbird, Bay-Breasted, Hooded, and Blackpoll warblers.
credit: OwnBy

Monday, May 04, 2009

May 3 - Garret Mountain

This morning was cut-short by rain, but still many beautiful species were seen today.
Highlights were the Magnolia Warbler, Black-Throated Blue Warbler, and the Blackburnian Warbler.

May 2 - Garret Mountain

Have you readers noticed a trend of where I have been birding lately....when you live in North Jersey the best place to bird in May during spring Migration is Garret Mountain, so why go anywhere else ?

Saturday May 2 proved to be one of the banner days that this park is regionally (perhaps even nationally?) known for. A south/southwest front passed through last night, with the rain ending around 5 am, and the birds following this front end up landing at Garret Mountain once the sun comes up.

Besides the fantastic diversity, there were incredible numbers of birds here today. The unquestionably predominant species was Rose-Breasted Grosbeak.

All photos credit: Kevin Watson

Estimates ranged from 500 up 2,500 of these birds being in the park today. All I know is that I easily saw over 100, and wasn't taking the time to focus on this species nor count them all.
At any point you could scan the top of any Oak and see 10-12-15 of these beauties feasting up there. Other park regulars commented on how this was the greatest concentration of this species ever in their memories.

However, this was just the prelude to a great day of birding. I started at 6 am and birded until just before 3 during which time I tallied over 85 species. While I've had higher species counts on past trips, this day was one of the top 3 that I can recall as far as numbers of birds being in the park. This was evidenced by the, at least, 4 worm-Eating Warblers that I saw today and another one was heard only !
credit: Speiser

I also enjoyed 3 of the Black-Billed Cuckoos, and 4-5 of the Yellow-Bellied species.

click on images to enlarge

On the warbler front I had 19 species seen, and missed another 4-5 species that were reported by others.

I'll try to add more details of this fantastic day shortly...

Friday, May 01, 2009

April 25 / 26 - Garret Mountain

Another set of "short" birding days for me this weekend, but still plenty of time to soak up the returning migrants.

Highlights from the 25th included Green Herons flying into the park, Chimney swifts overhead, and Blue-Headed Vireos making appearances. House Wrens have joined their cousins of Carolina and Winter wren, and the always pleasant to see Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers put in a show too.

Thrushes were highlighted by Veery and Hermit, along with Robins, Catbird and Mockingbird. My first Brown Thrasher of the year was performing it's song.

Warblers included Yellow-Rumped in fine plumages, Pine, Prairie, Palm, Black & White, Parula, Yellow, Chestnut-Sided, BT Green, BT Blue, Northern Waterthrush, and Ovenbird.

Sparrows seen were Towhee, Song, Swamp, Chipping, Field, & White-Throated.

Finches seen were Purple, House, Goldfinch, and Pine Siskin. A Rose-Breasted Grosbeak rounded out the list of beauties.

Great-crested Flycatcher was seen, as were Phoebes and a stunning male Scarlet Tanager joined the equally delightful Baltimore Oriole, and lovely Orchard Oriole.