Sunday, May 26, 2013

May 26 - Sterling Forest, The 'Gunk, and Clinton Road

When my friends suggested a return trip to this great birding spot today I gladly accepted.  This Orange County hotspot produced the hoped for specialties of Golden-Winged Warbler & Cerulean Warbler, which were seen well, as were many other beautiful species of birds.   The electric-colored birds of Baltimore Oriole, Indigo Bunting, and Scarlet Tanager are just pure eye-candy that anyone can appreciate.

 Other beauties seen were warblers of Prairie, Yellow, Chestnut-Sided, Black-and-White, and Common Yellowthroat.
We also had nice view of Yellow-Billed Cuckoos,  Great Crested Flaycathers, Cedar Waxwings, and the tiny Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher.

Afterward we headed further north to Ulster County's Shawangunk Grasslands.  This was my first visit here since the area was closed last year to remove all signs of the old airfields & to make walking trails in their place.  The grasslands can now hold more wildlife, and will be managed to keep the area from being re-forested.  Here we did not see our target of Upland Sandpiper but we did get on several Grasshopper Sparrows, numerous Bobolinks, several Meadowlarks, a pair of Orchard Orioles, Willow Flycatchers, and Eastern Kingbirds.   
Raptors seen were American Kestrel in splendid plumage and light, Vultures of Black and Turkey, Common Raven, Red-Tailed Hawks and Northern Harrier.

Just before getting back home we stopped at the Newark Watershed's powerline cut along Van Orden Road.  Here we hoped to see if the Golden-Winged Warbler had made a return to this former stronghold. Unfortunately the clear-cutting of brush beneath the powerlines has not yet grown back enough for this species.  We did see Blue-Winged Warblers, Field Sparrows, Indigo Buntings, Prairie Warblers, Chestnut-Sided Warblers, and Ovenbirds.  Perhaps in a few more season the Golden-Wingeds may return.