Tuesday, July 19, 2016

July 19 - Oregon Plains Road

Out for another morning with Andy and Jennifer, this time along Oregon Plains Road and it's intersection with Bigelow Road.
First up being seen was the regional specialty of Black-Backed Woodpecker.  We had a female that showed well, although from about 40-50 yards. Later along the southern path toward Bloomingdale Bog I had a male Black-Backed.  Here's an image of a male

Quite a while later we had a flock of Chickadees come through and Andy was able to hear a Boreal Chickadee's call within the flock.  We all then strained but were able to locate a handful of these cousins to the more common Black-Capped Chickadee.  Here is a Boreal Chickadee image:

Here's Andy feeding an adult Gray Jay form his hand !

And here is a juvenile Gray Jay awaiting it's turn:

Monday, July 18, 2016

July 18 - Went back for a Spuce, and got a Spruce !

My second day in the Adirondacks began with meeting my friends Andy and Jennifer at their hotel in Saranac Lake.  We then took the ride out toward Tupper Lake, and eventually back out to Kildare Road to begin the trek into Spring Pond Bog Preserve.
Along Kildare Road I spotted a Ruffed Grouse along the roadside about 50-60 yards ahead of my car on the right hand side.  We got to enjoy long looks at the crested grouse, certainly the best I have ever had, before her 3 chicks made a brief appearance.  The young were excitable and before long flew across the road and into the brush.  Soon after the mother did the same, revealing her grayish rump feathers, indicating this was a Grayish Phase Ruffed Grouse.

Credit: Wikipedia

Later my friend Andy needed to commune with nature, and that stop turned out to be the exact timing we needed.  For once we started up again it wasn't another hundred yards before I spotted another grouse,  this time on the left hand side of the road.  Immediately we saw the black barring and red eyebrow of the male Spruce Grouse, then Andy spied the chestnut colored ends of the tail which further confirmed the species.

Credit: Unknown

So the two days at Spring Pond Bog gave me two exciting sightings which I will always remember as the "Moose and the Spruce"  !

Sunday, July 17, 2016

July 17 - Went for a Spruce, got a Moose !

My first day in the Adirondacks involved a trip to Spring Pond Bog, which is located north of Tupper Lake in Franklin County.  My goal was to see the ever-decreasing Spruce Grouse.  Recent estimates put the Spruce Grouse population at approximately 100 total birds....all of them located only within the 6.5 million acres of the Adirondack State Park.  One of the most reliable, and I used that term quite loosely, is the Spring Pond Bog.  This area is owned by the Nature Conservancy although within other lands that are the property of Hunting Clubs, specifically the Kildare Hunt Club.
Here's a shot of the habitat.

The day starts out along Kildare Road for about 7-8 miles before on even reaches the gate that provided access to the Bog itself.  The birding outside the gate is quite good, and I'll have more on that in my next posting.

Once inside the Kildare Gate, one has to go just over 6 miles to reach the trailhead of the Spring Pond Bog,  It was during this stretch of the trip where I was able to see a Moose !

 I have been eager for many, many years to see this animal so I was very happy that I got to watch it for almost 10 minutes, and from only about 20 yards away.  I did not see the Spruce Grouse today, but the Moose was quite the consolation.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

July 9 - Rainy Day with Great birds

While this morning started with a delay as Bill got stuck in traffic because the highway was closed at 4:30 am due to a tractor-trailer accident, and then we had to drive through lots of fog & drizzle, eventually it was a fantastic day. 
We met friends Andy & Jen at Forsythe NWR, aka "Brig".  Here we had many of the expected species...Purple Martins, Carolina Chickadees, Seaside & Saltmarsh Sparrows, Clapper Rails, Gull-Billed and Least Terns, Little Blue Heron, we also had some early migrants like Pectoral Sandpiper and Whimbrels.  Later we got our primary target, the female Red-Necked Phalarope.
Here's a dramatic picture taken by friend Chris Takacs, showing just how small these phalaropes are.

The flight shot is courtesy Steven Albert.  Click on images to enlarge

We departed Brig and headed north toward Waretown to try for the Mississippi Kite that has been seen again this year.  I saw this bird here last July 2015.

Before Waretown, Bill and I took a short detour to Tuckerton's Great Bay Boulevard.  Here we saw more Seaside and Saltmarsh Sparrows, along with an Adult Little Blue Heron, and several Tri-colored Herons.  Then we saw 5 American Avocets in flight at close range, but they quickly took off toward Brig.

Our friend Andy called and said that two Mississippi Kites were being seen, so we headed over to meet him and the now sleeping Jennifer.  Hey, its sometimes hard to get up at 4 am !
By the time we arrived Andy had located the Kite's nest !!  We saw the parents bringing food and feeding the 2 young, so this represents the first known record of breeding Mississippi Kites in the State of New Jersey !!
Here is more info on these birds: Mississippi Kites found nesting in New Jersey

While driving home, we saw the birding alert that an Adult Franklin's Gull has been found at Liberty State Park's Boat Launch.  So we headed over there.  Upon arriving we saw friend Ed Borowik who had arranged with the Park Police to allow some birders to briefly park their cars near where the bird was being seen.  We got fine looks at the bird, and moments later Andy & the now awoken Jennifer arrived and also got to see the bird.  This Franklin's Gull was my first being seen in New Jersey.

Credit: Larry Scacchetti

So it was quite a day, even after the obstacles that the early morning had in store for us,

Sunday, July 03, 2016

July 3 - Clinton Road

Today I took a solo hike along Clinton Road.  This area is part of the City of Newark's Watershed.  I'm fortunate to have such a lovely area so close to my home, and one which supports dozens of breeding birds.  I also saw a Black Bear very early this morning.

The hike is not too difficult and produces many species of Warblers, Thrushes, and Flycatchers.
The warblers seen today included Louisiana Waterthrush, Yellow, Black-Throated Green, Magnolia,  Redstart, Hooded, Black-and-White, Cerulean, Prairie, Common Yellowthroat, and Ovenbird
The Thrushes were Veery, Wood Thrush, Hermit, Robins, Catbird, and Towhee.
The Flycatchers were Least, Acadian, Pewee, Phoebe, Great-Crested, Eastern Kingbird, along with Bluebirds and Cedar Waxwings.
A juvenile Red-Shouldered Hawk was also seen.

In the section of the trail where I had the Hermit Thrushes I also saw Blue-Headed Vireos.  Other vireos seen today were Yellow-Throated and the ubiquitous Red-Eyed.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

July 2 - High Point and environs

Out today with friends Andy & Jennifer, we went north to enjoy more breeders and avoid the heat. 
Starting at Sawmill Road and Route 23 we had Least Flycatcher, Chestnut-Sided Warbler, Yellow Warbler and several thrushes.
Along Deckertown Pike we heard, and eventually saw, the Alder Flycatcher. Here we also had Ruby-Throated Hummingbird.
Along Ridge Road, and also in Kuser Bog we had Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers, which is a relatively recent addition to the breeding birds of New Jersey.

We stopped at Wallkill NWR on the drive back to show them the Bank Swallows.