Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wordless Wednesday...

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday...

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Bird walk report from Van Courtlandt Park Bronx NY...

Great Egret

On Saturday, I completed my 5th walk since agreeing to do civic duties in leading bird walks at Van Courtlandt Park in the Bronx NY. The group of attendees varies in skill level with beginners to those who have been birding for quite a number of years…far more than I have. Interest also varies, with more folks showing up during the Spring migration; now that migration is over save for stragglers, we are now down to those who just enjoy coming out on Saturday morning for the walk.

Green Heron

This past week, we had 43 species with highlights that included mama Wood Duck and her rapidly growing ducklings, Cedar Waxwings, Warbling Vireos, nesting Orchard Orioles, nesting Barn Swallows, nesting Eastern Kingbird, Northern Rough-winged Swallows and a Green Heron. We suspect that the Green Heron is nesting nearby. We also kept our eyes out for Butterflies and had a couple of Red Admirals, Eastern Tiger Swallowtails, several Cabbage Whites and I also was able to photograph a couple of Little Wood Satyrs.

Little Wood Satyr

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Photos from Jamaica Bay...

Two Osprey chicks with Mom and Dad in the nest.

Wait lets recount - looks like three Osprey chicks.

But wait there is more. I spy four Osprey chicks.

Once again, a successful nest at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens NY. I may get to help band these guys, but you will have to check back to see if that does happen.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Birding the Delmarva Peninsula area Day III...

Day three arrived with the early morning sounds of Clapper Rails and Carolina Chickadees outside my hotel room. By 6:00 a.m. I was geared up and ready for a full day of birding and so was Shai, Pat and Gerta. We quickly assembled and decided that the hotel’s weak coffee was not enough of a caffeine intake and so we stopped for additional coffee. Then it was onto Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

Toms Cove.

The auto loop was not open so we drove out to the beach. Along the way we heard several Brown-headed Nuthatches with their toy like squeaking sounds. At the beach we had a small amount of shorebirds mulling around an area named “Toms Cove”. Pat, Gerta and I scanned the shorebirds while Shai opted for a seawatch.

Clapper Rail.

There was not a lot of diversity in the shorebirds with the majority being Semipalmated Sandpipers; however, we did have a couple of Piping Plovers, which is always neat to see. Shai did not have much action on his sea watch – though our best bird at that spot in the morning came from that route. A Brown Pelican, spotted by Pat as it flew by. After a while we headed back out and birded along the drive. At one of our stops, we picked up a Clapper Rail that decided no one could see it all the way out in the marsh and ventured out from cover; minutes later, we found our first Whimbrel. Later on, we added more, picking up about 10-12 Whimbrels that were feeding in one of the marshes. Shai and I continued birding on foot, working our way back out towards the Chincoteague bridge while Pat and Gerta headed off to bird the woodland trail and to look at “ponies”. I became too engrossed with watching Terns and missed out on what would have been a life Turtle for me. Pat found a turtle that was later identified by Shai as a Mud Turtle. By then, we were ready for a break and so we reconvened at the hotel, grabbed a bite and prepared for the afternoon auto loop ride. The auto loop is accessible by car from 3:00 p.m. and so it was around that time that we entered the loop.

Cattle Egret.

It was a nice ride and we had good looks at Blue Winged Teals, Royal Terns, Gull-billed Terns, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Cattle Egrets and Short-billed Dowitchers. We sifted through the shorebirds looking for White-rumped Sandpipers, but did not find any.

Royal Terns.

We then tried the beach again before calling it a day and with the change in tide had more terns at Tom’s Cove that included Royal and Common Terns. We closed the day with a nice dinner and planned for day IV. We were excited about our fourth day as it was the day we were expecting our friend Andy Balldeli to join us.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday...

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Birding the Delmarva Peninsula area Day II...

Ruddy Turnstones

On our second day out around Del Marva, we continued birding in the Delaware area working our way towards Maryland with the objective of heading to Virginia. Our morning highlights in Delaware included, the endangered Red Knots, - small number...much less than I expected. I have actually documented more Red-Knots at Jamaica Bay this spring than I saw in Delaware. Maybe it all had to do with timing on when we were in Delaware...I hope that is what it was.

Seaside Sparrow

Seaside Sparrows - quite the opposite of the Red-Knots were everywhere in the Port Mahon area. I thoroughly enjoyed listening and seeing them. There were lots of shorebirds, but not much in diversity. The shorebirds were dominated by Ruddy Turnstones and Dunlins. Other highlights at Port Mahon included, Black-necked Stilts, Caspian Terns, and two first summer Lesser Black Backed Gulls.

Black-necked Stilts

We continued birding on the way out from Delaware into Maryland. In the early afternoon in Maryland, we had Gannets, Royal Terns, Purple Sandpipers and a nice pickup for the trip in Common Eiders. We tried for a Marbled Godwit that was reported around an area we had to drive by, but did not locate the bird.

White Ibis

Later on we added White Ibis, spotted from the causeway as we entered Chincoteague VA. After checking into our hotel in VA, we had cocktails on the deck and listened to Clapper Rails, while doing our day list tally. Then it was dinner, more cocktails and planning for day III.
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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Birding the Delmarva Peninsula area Day I...

Purple Martin

On May 26th, I joined my friends Shai Mitra, Patricia Lindsay and Gerta Fritz on a birding expedition around the Delmarva Peninsula. This area is made up Delaware, portions of Maryland and Virginia and is considered a premier location for birding. The plan was to bird in the area and meet up with another friend Andy Balldeli. Our first day saw us birding at Bombay Hook, in Delaware. There we cooked in the sweltering heat while constantly swatting bugs, but it was well worth it with really nice looks at many birds. Our highlights were Purple Martins around the visitor's center, breeding plumaged American Avocets, Black-necked Stilts, Blue Grosbeaks and many Northern Bobwhites. Our birding day was short due to our long trek up from NYC. So, after the Bombay Hook auto loop, it was dinner and planning for the next day, which you will read all about when I post the report for Day II.

Male Blue Grosbeak

Black-necked Stilt

American Avocets

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Wordless Wednesday...

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wordless Wednesday...

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Wilson’s Phalaropes at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Queens NY…

Wilson's Phalarope observed on the West Pond, May 21st.

An unprecedented 4th Wilson’s Phalarope was reported by birder Steve Walter, on May 29th. Coincidently, Steve also reported the first one seen this Spring on May 21st. The other 2 Wilson’s Phalaropes were found by birders Tom Burke and Gail Benson on May 22nd. I was lucky to observe and photograph all 4 birds and in my opinion they were all different birds. While Wilson’s Phalaropes in the spring are the ones most frequently seen, they are considered to be rare this time of the year. It was a treat to observe them in breeding plumage.

2 Wilson's Phalaropes observed on the East Pond, May 22nd.

Aside that it may be a good year for Wilson’s Phalarope, this is really quite nice for Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Four Wilson's Phalaropes in the Spring may also be a record for the refuge according to Bulls Birds of New York State, which sites the maxima in past Spring to be 3 females.

Wilson's Phalarope observed on the West Pond, May 31st

The impact of available feeding and resting grounds should not be overlooked. The number of Wilson’s Phalaropes this year at the refuge could be attributed to the available mudflats on the West Pond. In reviewing my reports from last year shorebird monitoring at the refuge, the numbers are up significantly on the West Pond. Last year, the water level was poorly managed on the West Pond resulting in sparse numbers of shorebirds documented. However, this year the water level has been managed extremely well resulting in an increase of shorebirds seen on the available mudflats on the West Pond.

Wilson's Phalarope observed on the West Pond, May 31st

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