Tuesday, November 07, 2017

November 7 - Corn Crake

Yet another long-distance migrant was found today, with this one at Cedar Beach Marina in Suffolk County, NY.
A Corn Crake wass reported after mid-day and I was able to go for it.  I saw the bird quite well before the rain came on. Then on the drive home  I hit a big rut in the roadway that is under construction and flattened my tire. So this will be an expensive outing, but how can a price be put on this mega-rarity ?

Update: On the morning of Thursday November 9 the Corn Crake was found to be deceased.

Steve Walter has some fine photos here: http://stevewalternature.com/

Thursday, October 26, 2017

October 26 - Common Greenshank

I took the day off from work today to see if the Common Greenshank was still at "Brig", a/k/a the auto-loop of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge.
The bird was first reported on Monday about mid-day but  I could not make the 2-hour drive at that time. On Tuesday it was a very stormy day and the bird was not reported. Yesterday, Wednesday, my friend Bill E. went down and was able to see the bird briefly and confirm that it had not left due to the storm.
So this morning I left the house at 5 am and made the trek down south.  The bird was located by others just before 9 am, and a group of 7 cars then caravaned over the the East Dike and saw the bird.
We had fairly close views of the bird including nice look at it's namesake legs, and later when the bird took flight we saw the white-stripe up it's back.

Here's a view of some of the hundreds of birders that came the following Saturday:

Saturday, October 21, 2017

October 21 - Sparrowing and a surprise Wren

I went out today with friends Andy E. and Jennifer C. to the sparrow hotspot of Glenhurst Meadows that is located in New Jersey's Warren County.
We had a nice diversity of birds here but the volume was down.  The highlight was a Clay-colored Sparrow that we all had good looks at several times each. We also saw the local specialty, Red-Headed Woodpeckers, along the river at the back of the park.

Next we made a stop at Cold Brook Park out in Hunterdon County. Here we had several dozen American Pipits but only in flight, and 3 of the Vesper Sparrow.

We then traveled back home to Garret Mountain because our friend Bill E. had located a very uncommon Sedge Wren earlier in the day.  Luckily we all were able to hear & then see the Sedge Wren.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

August 12 - White-winged Tern !

This morning I went out to see the White-Winged Tern which had been found in Pennsylvania on Thursday.  I couldn't go yesterday as I was still returning from a few days vacation up in Mystic, Connecticut. So I had to wait until 4:30 this morning to take the 200+ mile drive.  Thankfully my friend Bill E. took the ride with me.
We arrived just before 08:00 and saw the bird right away.  The views were very close as the bird is sitting on some pilings at the southern end of Nessum Lake. We waited a bit to see this beauty take some short flights.  While there friends Larry, Jim, and Alyssa showed up as well.  Here's some of Larry's pictures.

ABA Lifer # 650 for me !!

Sunday, August 06, 2017

August 6 - Gaa-Lib, Waa-Hib, Waa-Fib

Today saw an early-morning drive down to Edwin B. Forsythe NWR, affectionately known as 'Brig".
My goal was to see the southbound shorebird migration that is getting underway.
I arrived just before 6:30 and got started with nice views of a Blue Grosbeak.  Soon after I saw a Caspian Tern hunting over the marsh.
Next up was some Gull-Billed Terns before turning my attention to the most-recent rarities to be seen in the refuge..The expected species here is the Glossy Ibis (GLIB) however a pair of juvenile White Ibis (WHIB) have been seen for about a week now.  These White Ibis have been faithful to the area near Goose Marker 5, and today was no exception. As I drove toward Marker 5 I saw the White Ibis in flight & they landed in the grassy marsh to feed.
Up the Wildlife Drive roadway about 200 yards further east I spotted the other recent rarity of the American Avocet.  Soon after I spotted the over-summering, and presumed injured, Snow Goose by Marker # 7.
Later on the north dike I spotted a Marbled Gowdit that was feeding near the traditional Tern/Plover mudflat roosting area. I was glad that many others were able to see this bird later throughout the day.
Since I had not yet seen my friend Jason D. on the wildlife drive I took another quick loop of the refuge.  On the north dike I ran into Jason, along with friend Chris and his wife Paula.  Here those 3 showed me the White Faced-Ibis (WFIB) that had been reported yesterday.
So  I was able to have a 3-Ibis species day in New Jersey, which is not a common occurrence!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

July 16 - Liberty Marsh

After some time off from birding recently I was finally able to get out today.  I went up north to the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge's Liberty Marsh section.  This section straddles the stateline between NJ and NY.  
The Liberty Loop is a few mile long trail that gives you access to some of the best freshwater marshes that are closest to my home.
My target was the Least Bittern and today I was able to have great views of a pair !
Also seen was a Common Gallinule/Moorhen, who finally made an appearance after 30 minutes of calls from within the reeds.
I also heard at least 3 different Sora rails, although none of these ever made an appearance.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

June 3 - Local Specialties & A pair of Rarities

With the northbound migration almost completed June becomes the time of year where I look for the local specialties & the local-breeders, which we are fortunate to have many species of !

Our first stop today was along Ironwood Drive in Sterling Forest.  Here we saw the expected, yet quickly diminishing, specialties of Golden-Winged Warbler.

We also had point-blank views of a lovely male Cerulean Warbler after he had come down to bathe.

Next we headed up to Ulster County, New York to visit the Shawangunk National Wildlife Refuge.
Here for several days have been two rarities and fortunately I was able to catch up with them before their departure !
The first rarity is the Dickcissel.  Typically this species breeds in the Central US, so to have a singing male that is defending it's breeding territory in NY State is unusual.

Click on the maps/images below to enlarge.

Here's the Dickcissel:

credit: Bill Elrick

The other rarity was also present, and just about 100 yards away !   This species is the Henslow's Sparrow.  This species can & does breed here in New York State however there is a very small population of these birds on the eastern edge of their range as they require large tracts of grassland.

Here is the Henslow's Sparrow:

Note the greenish nape/neck & the dark spot on the cheek.

credit: Bill Elrick