Ahhhh, today was the first day that felt like a true 'Spring' day. There were clear blue skies and temperatures into the mid-60s by afternoon.
I began the morning at the local NJ hotspot of Garret Mountain in Woodland Park (nee West Paterson). I saw several 'first' birds of the year in Pine Warbler, Palm Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, and a kettle of 8 Broad-Winged Hawks Several other good birds were still around such as Fox Sparrows, Rusty Blackbirds, Brown Creepers, both of the Kinglets were seen, as well as, many Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers. It was a nice morning of bird and good friends in Bill, Carol, and Hank.
Later, I drove up to Montgomery, NY to try my luck at seeing the Crested Caracara which has been seen at Scotty's Golf Course over the past few days. As luck would have it, this was a drive-up bird. I saw the bird in flight immediately as I arrived at the parking area and I enjoyed long flight looks at this species.
Here is a picture of the bird taken by friend John Haas:
credit: Bashakill Birder Blog
This species is very rare outside of the southern US, so this was a first New York State Record for me !
New York bird # 352.