Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Birds Are Blowing In

With all of the great reports lately Jones Beach sure looked like the place to be this am April 23. Phil Jabiru and I got an early start on this balmy day. Balmy indeed, as with temps in the 40's and a brisk wind, I had to put on both the heavy jacket and light jacket I had brought. Who repealed spring?

We crossed paths with Bob Prothonotary on our way to check and see if the Whimbrels reported yesterday were still present. Nope. But he later called to alert us to an Orchard Oriole just found by the Coast Guard station. It too was trying to avoid the wind. YB1.

Orchard Oriole

After getting some pix, we joined with him and Bob ‘Neo’ Tropical Cormorant { there are WAY too many birders named Bob, I call for a moratorium!} and we all perused the median. Lots of y-rumps, and wind, but not a lot else. We all departed for hopefully birdier pastures.
Yellow-rumped Warbler
I convinced Phil to go to MNSC yet again for another try at Tricolored Heron. I am a sucker for punishment. Maybe they should call it the Trying Heron? Lots of Ibis, wind, and disappointment; so we went to Hempstead lake.

We caught up with the two Bobs again, and walked around in the cold. It took a while but we found a mixed flock in an area of less wind. We then got some intel from Ed Thrasher about a White-eyed Vireo he had seen earlier, and we headed off to that location to look for it.

Bob Prothonotary heard it first and with the four of us looking we spied first some movement and then the bird in a bunch of multiflora rose. It posed as well as a nervous little bird can in a tangle of vegetation, which limited photographic opportunity for me.  After this fellow, it appeared we had exhausted the birdy opportunities here and we decided to relocate again. YB2.

We reconvened at Valley Stream State Park, a place I had heretofore never been prior to this year. I had however remarked about it on a few occasions, as I pass by it on a frequent basis. It all comes back to my theory that birders tend to follow the reports, and the observation that I have ‘discovered’ {for myself} some beautiful places as a result of chasing the birds that had been reported there. I wouldn’t categorize this place as beautiful, but the habitat is intriguing with its two streams flowing through it.

One would think that birds would be evenly distributed, yet it always happens that they tend to be clustered in certain areas. At times it is obvious they are working as a mixed flock of birds, but at other times it just seems that they congregate in the same locations. This prompted a discussion amongst ourselves as to why two places with the same apparent habitat will have one be full of birds while the other so much less occupied. What do the birds know that we don’t?

We walked around one stream, then over to the other where Bob P. was hoping for a reported Northern Waterthrush.  We walked the length of the stream over an impressively large bed of lesser celandine which was in bloom. Pine and Palm Warblers were about as expected, as were Gnatcatchers. Further down the path things started picking up, with a Blue-headed Vireo and then a Warbling Vireo for 2 more YBs.

Blue-headed Vireo
Continuing on I saw a large bird fly up and into a tree, which revealed itself to be the most washed out Black-crowned Night Heron we collectively had ever seen. So much so that we studied it in the poor lighting to make sure it was not a Yellow-crowned.

Black-crowned Night Heron
And then it got more interesting, as I spotted movement across the bank that turned out to be a Immature type Redstart. Then a Yellow Warbler appeared and it seemed we had really hit a nice active area.

Of course working our way to the end and back we still had not found the Northern Waterthrush until another sweep downstream, but the two Bobs didn’t alert Phil and I as they thought we already had it. I eventually glimpsed it after much effort, but Phil did not.

All in all productive day with 7 year birds - the birding is heating up if not the temperature!

No comments: