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


May 27 - Shawangunk Grasslands NWR and Bashakill State WMA

Ann and I visited the Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge in Ulster County last Saturday (May 21) as part of our Great Gull Island Birdathon. We were pleased to see Grasshopper Sparrow there. We were disappointed to hear afterward, that while we were there a Dickcissel was found, but word did not get out about it until later. A couple of days later birders who had gone to see the Dickcissel discovered a singing Henslow's Sparrow within sight of the Dickcissel. This was too good to pass up. So even though we normally avoid traveling on Memorial Day weekend we headed up on Saturday to look for the two birds. It was easy to find where the Henslow's was being seen. You just had to look for the group of birders. When we got there Junko Suzuki pointed out the Dickcissel perched up down the trail. We took a quick look at it and then waited with the other birders for the Henslow's. After about 30 minutes we heard it calling and then it popped up about 25 feet in front of us and provided great views for the next 15 minutes or so. Henslow's Sparrows used to nest on these grasslands, before it was a National Wildlife Refuge. In fact, this is where Ann saw her life Henslow's on a Birdathon thirty-four years ago, but they have been gone from the area for many years. It would be great if they are returning to the area as breeders.
Henslow's Sparrow 05/27/2017 Shawangunk Grasslands NWR
After the sparrow dropped back into the grass out of site we continued down the trail to a blind to get better looks at the Dickcissel. It never got as close as the Henslow's, but i was able to get some slightly blurry pictures.
Dickcissel 05/27/2017 Shawangunk Grasslands NWR
The whole time we were there Eastern Meadowlarks and Bobolinks were singing and flying around us.

Bobolink 05/27/2017 Shawangunk Grasslands NWR
After leaving the Shawangunk Grasslands NWR we drove down to Wurtsboro, NY where we were spending the night. After dinner at Danny's in Wurtsboro we birded around the nearby Bashakill State Wildlife Management Area from dusk until after dark. We heard both Least and American bitterns calling. A group of 10 - 12 Common Nighthawks were feeding over the have Road causeway across the marsh. After dark we heard Eastern Whip-poor-wills and a Barred Owl calling. It was a great end to a great day's birding.

Below are our lists for Shawangunk and Bashakill.

Shawangunk Grasslands
American Kestrel
Barn Swallow
Brown Thrasher
Savannah Sparrow
Henslow's Sparrow
Dickcissel
Bobolink
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
American Goldfinch

Bashakill
Wood Duck
Pied-billed Grebe
American Bittern
Least Bittern
Green Heron
Bald Eagle
Common Gallinule
Barred Owl
Common Nighthawk
Eastern Whip-poor-will
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Kingbird
Warbling Vireo
Fish Crow
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Veery
Common Yellowthroat
Yellow Warbler
Song Sparrow
Scarlet Tanager
Red-winged Blackbird

May 25 - Central Park

The last Thursday morning AMNH bird walk of the spring was done in a steady light rain. One brave soul joined me for the walk. We managed to find 24 species in the rain. We went from sheltered spot to sheltered spot, trying to stay as dry as we could. Our best bird was a nice view of a Great Crested Flycatcher seen from the Rustic Shelter on the western side of the Ramble. At one point we had both the Great Crested and a Baltimore Oriole in the same binocular field. I will post a cumulative bird list for the spring as soon as I compile it. Below is the final morning's list. I wish everyone a good summer. See you in the fall.

Canada Goose
Mallard
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Egret
Rock Pigeon
White-winged Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Great Crested Flycatcher
Warbling Vireo
Blue Jay
Barn Swallow
Swainson's Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
European Starling
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Magnolia Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Baltimore Oriole
House Sparrow

May 24 - Central Park

This was the last Wednesday morning AMNH walk of the season. We started out with some light rain, but it quickly stopped. We managed to find 36 species in the two hours. The best bird was a single Gray-cheeked Thrush. The full morning's list is below. I will compile a cumulative list for the season and get it posted as soon as I can. In the meantime i wish all my walk participants a good summer.

Canada Goose
Mallard
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Egret
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Red-tailed Hawk
Herring Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Chimney Swift
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
Gray-cheeked Thrush
Swainson's Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
European Starling
Ovenbird
Northern Waterthrush
Common Yellowthroat
American Redstart
Magnolia Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
White-throated Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Baltimore Oriole
House Sparrow