Saturday, May 30, 2015

May 30 - Franklin's Gull at Brooklyn's Plumb Beach

The regular crew got together today for a chase out to Brooklyn's Plumb Beach.  The target was a Franklin's Gull which has been seen here for almost a full week.  Fortunately for us the bird continues today, and we were able to see it right-away upon arriving at the east end of the beach where it meets Gerretsen Creek

I had seen this species before, back in November 2011 at Texas' South Padre Island, however those birds were in basic (winter) plumage.  So seeing today's bird in alternate (breeding) plumage was nice!

These images show the white-wing tips of the Franklin's against the dark-tip of the Laughing Gull

All images credit Sean Sime.  you can see more of his excellent photos here

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

May 27 - Little Gull

After work today I headed over to Mill Creek Point Park in Secaucus to try for the Little Gull which has been found earlier in the day by Chris T.  
My patience was tested as upon arriving the bird was not in sight...then lightning immediately began and the skies darkened.  After an intense downpour for 15 minutes I re-emerged from my car, and within moments the Little Gull returned from across the marsh.  I first spotted the gull over by the radio station, which is located in Bergen County and then the bird came into Mill Creek Point Park which is located in Hudson County.

Here are some poor quality images that I digiscoped using my cellphone.

This image captures the black underwing of this species:
click on images to enlarge

Monday, May 25, 2015

May 25 - Least Bittern

With only a few hours free on this Memorial Day Holiday, I went to the Richard W. De Korte park in search of the Wilson's Phalarope which had been reported here the past few days.  Unfortunately that bird was not seen by anyone, yet I was able to get fine views of a Least Bittern.
Other species highlights today were Willow Flycatchers, and Black Skimmers.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

May 23 - Ulster/Sullivan County birding

Our group took it's annual pilgrimage to the Ulster County, New York hotspot of Blue Chip Farms this morning.  The target here is the Upland Sandpiper.  We saw 2 birds from Hoagerburgh Road, and then later saw 3 individuals from Bates Lane within the horse paddock.  

Also seen were Grasshopper Sparrow, and a Bank Swallow seen above the pond which is on Old Fort Road (the location of this past winter's Gyrfalcon).

Afterward we headed over to Bashakill Wetlands in Sullivan County.  The target here was marsh birds and we were able to see the Common Gallinule.  Other goodies were Yellow-Throated Vireo on it's nest, Cerulean Warblers, Bald Eagle, and Least Flycatcher.

Finally on the way home I saw a posting of a Red-Necked Phalarope being seen on Orange Lake, which is near Stewart Airport.  We made the slight detour into Orange County and after a short wait I was able to briefly see the Phalarope once it lifted up from the water and took a short flight.
You can read more about this bird and view a distant photograph on John Hass's Blog

Sunday, May 17, 2015

May 17 - Local Breeders

As I have seen most of the migrating Wood-Warblers at the hot spot of Garret Mountain my attention now turns to finding the species I have not seen.  Fortunately several of these species are still 'local' because they can be found within a one-hour drive to some spots in New York's counties of Rockland & Orange.

First up today was Rockland's "Doodletown" which is located just south of the Bear Mountain Bridge.
Here we saw the glorious Cerulean Warbler in very good numbers, which means we see several of them and that includes both sexes.  Another specialty of this place is the Kentucky Warbler, which has been seen here annually since 2009.  Before then I had to go at least 2 hours south into New Jersey to see this species.  Also seen here today was Olive-Sided Flycatcher, another migrant.  The breeders seem were Louisiana Waterthrush, Worm-Eating Warbler, Blue-Winged Warbler, Yellow-Billed Cuckoo, and Ruby-Throated Hummingbird.

Next was a visit to Orange County's Sterling Forest, specifically the Ironwood Road section.  Here the target is the ever declining Golden-Winged Warbler and we were able to see one of the males today.

Finally back in New Jersey we stopped in Bergen County at the Mahwah park known as 'Mary Patrick'.  This Water Company property is open to the public and here we were able to see the Mourning Warbler, thanks to help from Doug M. who kindly showed us the spot where he had seen it earlier afte rit was reported by Rich K.

So today has a good quantity of birds and species, along with the bonus of seeing some of the rarer migrants.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

May 14 - Twenty Warbler day + other goodies

Today was another banner day for migrants up on Garret Mountain.  I tallied 20 wood-warblers, including fantastic and long views of the much sought-after boreal species.
It's pure eye-candy to simultaneously see both the male Cape May Warbler & the male Bay-Breasted Warbler in one binocular view !
I dislike to express such bravado, however I enjoyed the Cape Mays for so long that I finally had to put the bins down as my arms were getting tired.  Enough of the bragging, here is the highlights from today, May 14:
Spotted Sandpiper
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Common Nighthawk
Chimney Swift
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Yellow-throated Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Gray-cheeked Thrush
Swainson's Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Northern Waterthrush
Black-and-white Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Cape May Warbler
Northern Parula
Magnolia Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Pine Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Canada Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Scarlet Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting