Monday, May 23, 2016

May 22 - Bashakill and Shawangunk Grasslands

Ed Eden and I went up to the Bashakill Wildlife Management Area (Sullivan and Orange counties) and the Blue Chip Farm/Shawangunk Grasslands NWR area on Sunday. It was Ed's first visit to these great birding areas northwest of New York City. I was at both last week as part of my annual Great Gull Island Birdathon big weekend. It was quieter than last weekend, but many of the breeders were, of course, there and beautiful Bashakill is always worth a visit even if there are not a lot of birds around. I will append a complete bird list to this report later, when I have a chance, but by my count we found 74 species for the day. Some of the highlights included the two full grown Bald Eagle young still on their nest at Baskakill; both cuckoos heard calling (but not seen); and the always photographically lovely Prairie Warbler.
Prairie Warbler 05/22/2016 Bashakill WMA
Both last week and this week there seemed to be large numbers of Eastern Chipmunks running around, one of which insisted on having its picture taken.
Eastern Chipmunk 05/22/2016 Bashakill
At Blue Chip Farm in Ulster County we had not luck finding the Upland Sandpipers the area is known for. We couldn't find them last week either. The nearby Shawangunk Grasslands NWR provided the bird of the day for Ed - his life Grasshopper Sparrow. The sparrow obliging posed for it portrait a couple of times, so Ed now has pictures of his life bird.
Grasshopper Sparrow 05/22/2016 Shawangunk Grasslands NWR
Grasshopper Sparrow 05/22/2016 Shawangunk Grasslands NWR
There were also lots of Bobolinks flying around the Grasslands and a few Eastern Meadowlarks.

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