Sunday, September 3, 2017

Sept 2 - Great Gull Island - Bridled Tern

In August Ann and I went with a friend, Georgia Rose, out to Nebraska to see the total solar eclipse. We had a great trip and got great views of the eclipse. I will post pictures and account of the trip when I get a chance. As soon as I got back to NY, I immediately went out to Great Gull Island where we are going to be closing down the island for the season this week. Yesterday afternoon we had a great thrill and surprise when an adult Bridled Tern showed up on the eastern end of the island. Below are a couple of shots of the bird. The flight shot was cleaned up a bit for me by Sean Sime. This is the second record for the island for Bridled Tern. The first was in August 2016 and was posted on my blog last year.

Bridled Tern - 09/02/2017 - Great Gull Island   © J. DiCostanzo
Bridled Tern - 09/02/2017 - Great Gull Island   © J. DiCostanzo

Friday, August 4, 2017

July - Moths, Butterflies, Amphibians, and Birds - Upstate NY

In July, Ann and I went upstate to visit friends and to do a little camping. We started out visiting our friend Loretta in Columbia County. After a few nights there we went onto Pat and Ron in Essex County in the Adirondacks. Then we camped for a couple of nights at Meacham Lake in Franklin County, still in the Adirondacks. Then it was west for one night in Watertown in Jefferson County before returning to Loretta's for a day or so of drying out our tent and then home to New York City.

Of course, everywhere we went we spent a lot of time outdoors - when it wasn't raining. In Columbia County we spent a morning at the Wilson M. Powell Wildlife Sanctuary. With all the rain in July there were many mushrooms throughout the woods, though the birds were somewhat scarce. In another post I hope to put up some pictures of the fungi, once I get more of them identified. A highlight here was a worn Luna Moth, the first I have seen in years.In Essex County we visited White Pine Camp, one of the old Adirondack Great Camps and one that had served as the summer White House for Calvin Coolidge for a year or two in the 1920s. We also briefly visited Bloomingdale Bog. Later from our base at Meacham Lake, Ann and I birded Madawaska for boreal birds. We saw a couple of Gray Jays and heard Black-backed Woodpecker and White-winged Crossbill. Later in the day we saw a couple of White-winged Crossbills on Oregon Plains Road near Bloomingdale. Our quick trip over to Watertown was so that we could spend a morning at the Perch River Wildlife Management Area before heading back south. Below are a few pictures from the various stops.

Luna Moth - 07/19/2017 - Wilson Powell Wildlife Sanctuary
Twin-spotted Sphinx moth - 07/22/2017 - Jay, NY
Appalachian Brown - 07/19/2017 - Wilson Powell Wildlife Sanctuary
Northern Pearly-eye - 07/26/2017 - Madawaska
Pearl Crescent - 07/28/2017 - Perch River WMA
American Toad - 07/22/2017 - Bloomingdale Bog
Northern Leopard Frog - 07/28/2017 - Perch River WMA
Caspian Terns - 07/28/2017 - Perch River WMA
Gray Jay - 07/26/2017 - near Madawaska
White-winged Crossbill - 07/26/2017 - near Bloomingdale Bog

Sunday, July 30, 2017

July 30 - Inwood Hill Park - Greater Yellowlegs

Ann and I got home this afternoon from a trip upstate to the Adirondacks. After unpacking camping and other gear I was sitting down to my computer when I looked out the window and spotted a bird standing on a post on the edge of Muscota Marsh. Grabbing my binoculars to check it out I discovered it was a Greater Yellowlegs. I then grabbed my camera and went down onto the deck at the end of 218th Street to get a picture. It was a nice welcome home surprise.

Greater Yellowlegs - 07/30/2017 - Muscota Marsh, Inwood Hill Park
When I get a chance sometime in the next few days, I will post some things from our upstate trip.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

June 18 - Great Gull Island - Regal Moth

I am out on Great Gull Island doing field work with the terns. We have had heavy fog the last two mornings. As the fog was lifting this morning some of the workers were headed east through the "Meadow" section of the island when Donna Satterlee spotted a very large, unfamiliar moth. She took some pictures of it with her cellphone and I later went out and took some more pictures. We identified it as a Regal Moth (Citheronia regalii). Some research on the Internet turned up that the caterpillar has the wonderful name of Hickory Horned Devil. the wingspread of the adult moth can reach six inches. Its normal range is further south from here, usually just reaching northern New Jersey, though they do wander north to Massachusetts, so we were quite lucky to see one here.
Regal Moth (Citheronia regalii) - 06/18/2017 - Great Gull Island, NY

Saturday, June 3, 2017

June 3 - Golden-winged Warbler again

I went upstate again today, this time with Ed Eden, to chase some of the same birds Ann and I saw last weekend. The Henslow's Sparrow at Shawangunk Grasslands NWR in Ulster County was a life bird for Ed so we went there first. As we were driving through Blue Chip Farm, minutes from the refuge, I found an email from Rob Jett on the NYSbirds listserv that the Henslow's Sparrow and the Dickcissel were both being seen at the refuge. When we pulled into the parking area we could see groups of birders out in the grassland where I knew from my visit last week the birds were usually seen. We headed down the trail and as we approached the first bunch of birders we could hear the Henslow's singing. It took Ed about five seconds to pick up his first life bird of the day. After long, satisfying views of the Henslow's we walked the short distance down to the blind and got nice views of the Dickcissel. This wasn't a life bird for Ed, but it was the first adult male he had ever seen. We went back to watching the very cooperative Henslow's and waited out a brief passing rain shower that barely got us wet. On the way back to the car we heard an Alder Flycatcher singing and got a few brief views when it perched up. Back by the parking area we saw a Grasshopper Sparrow from the observation platform adding another grassland bird to the morning's list of the two goodies and number of singing and flying Bobolinks and Eastern Meadowlarks. After the brief rain, the day turned into a beautiful partly sunny one with brilliant blue skies and puffy clouds.

Next we headed down to Sterling Forest State Park to try for another life bird for Ed: Golden-winged Warbler. It took more time and effort than the Henslow's, but the photo below is proof of a successful endeavor.
Golden-winged Warbler 06/03/2017 Sterling Forest State Park
Nearby we saw a somewhat cooperative Black-billed Cuckoo. After eating lunch back at the car, we headed back north and east to Doodletown Road near Bear Mountain and spent a couple of hours birding there. We saw and heard 38 species there before heading back to the city. A successful and fun day's birding.

Friday, June 2, 2017

June 2 - Inwood Hill Park: Red-throated Loon

A winter plumaged Red-throated Loon has been hanging out at the north end of Inwood Hill Park for about a month now. On many mornings I can see it from my bedroom window when I get up. This morning when I came down from birding on the ridge the bird was just off the peninsula in the ship canal. It was doing lots of preening and flapping its wings and at one point dealing with waves from the wake of a passing boat. I liked the way it would stick its leg out when preening. It was a lot of fun to watch. Here are a few more pictures in addition to the one I posted earlier today.







2017 Great Gull Island Birdathon Report

I have now finished writing up my account of our 2017 Great Gull Island Birdathon done this year on May 20 and 21. I have posted it as a separate page here on the blog.

June 1/2 - Inwood Hill Park

Yesterday morning and again this morning I went into Inwood Hill Park for short walks. On both mornings, when I first got out of bed I looked out my window and there was the Red-throated Loon that has been frequenting the ship canal north of the park for the last month. This morning when I came down from the ridge the Red-throated was off the peninsula north of the soccer fields, preening and at one point riding over the wake caused by a passing boat. I got a bunch of pictures which I may put up in a separate post when I get a chance.

Both mornings, there was very little evidence of migrants, though the local breeders all seemed to be present. Over the two days I tallied 36 species. The full list is below.

Canada Goose (including goslings on the mudflats)
Mallard
Red-throated Loon
Red-throated Loon 06/02/2017 Inwood Hill Park
Double-crested Cormorant
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Chimney Swift
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Great Crested Flycatcher
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Tree Swallow
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird 06/02/2017 Inwood Hill Park
European Starling
Common Yellowthroat
Yellow Warbler
Song Sparrow
Song Sparrow 06/02/2017 Inwood Hill Park
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Orchard Oriole
Orchard Oriole 06/02/2017 Inwood Hill Park
Baltimore OrioleHouse Sparrow

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Spring 2017 AMNH Central Park bird walks

I have tallied up the cumulative bird lists for my Wednesday and Thursday morning AMNH Central Park bird walks. The lists are posted as separate pages here on my blog. The Wednesday total list is here and the Thursday total list is here. I have also prepared a combined cumulative list for the two sets of walks that can be found here.

Monday, May 29, 2017

May 28 - Bashakill State WMA and Sterling Forest State Park

Ann and I spent the morning and early afternoon birding around Bashakill. It was a lovely late spring morning, if a bit cloudy. There are two active Bald Eagle nests in the area, each with two large young. One is visible from the Haven Road causeway and the other is in the same place it has been for some years now visible from the main boat launch. Other nice breeders seen and/or heard included Acadian Flycatcher, Prairie Warbler, and Indigo Bunting. We also saw a large Snapping Turtle walking across the edge of a field into the woods.

In the afternoon we stopped at Sterling Forest State Park in Orange County on the way back to the city. We were hoping to pick up Golden-winged Warbler. When we arrived at the end of Ironwood Road, we heard Common Raven calling from the ridge. Two other birders were just driving away, but they told us where they had heard and seen a Golden-winged. We headed to the spot and Ann immediately heard the Golden-winged singing. We tried for a while, but could not locate the bird. We continued up the trail, because it had sounded like the bird went that way. We were rewarded with two Broad-winged Hawks circling and calling overhead, but no Golden-winged. A Painted Turtle sitting on the side of the trail was our second turtle of the day. Finally, we headed back since we still had the drive back to the city and did not want to get caught in Sunday afternoon traffic. As we approached the original spot we heard the Golden-winged singing again. Finally, I spotted it perched up high in a tree. It gave us nice binocular views, but I was only able to get some distant pictures.

Golden-winged Warbler 05/28/2017 Sterling Forest State Park
It was a great end to a great two days of birding.

Below are our bird lists for Bashakill and Sterling Forest.

Bashakill
Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Bald Eagle
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Acadian Flycatcher
Willow Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Yellow-throated Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
American Crow
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Veery
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Black-and-white Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Chipping Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Scarlet Tanager
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Baltimore Oriole
American Goldfinch

Sterling Forest 
Green Heron
Turkey Vulture
Broad-winged Hawk
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Tufted Titmouse
American Robin
Golden-winged Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Yellow Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole