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Trip Reports:

Catskills / Hudson River Valley NY, Trip - May 16-17, 2017

Our Catskill trip began near Oneonta at the Portlandville boat launch on the Susquehanna River on NY route 28.  The water was high, covering the usual mudflats, but 2 Mallard Ducks and a single Solitary Sandpiper were still hanging out. The adjoining swamp had Baltimore Oriole, Northern Cardinal, warbling Vireo, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Red-bellied Woodpecker, and Swamp Sparrow.         

Before heading north on county route 35, we went south where we picked up a pair of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Dark-eyed Junco, and Wood Thrush.  Proceeding north we picked up Savannah Sparrow and nesting Tree and Barn Swallows.  Traveling up Wightman Rd. we found breeding Blackburnian and BT Green Warblers and Winter Wren.   Boy Scout Rd had BT Blue, Yellow-rumped, Chestnut-sided and Black-and-White Warblers, Golden-crowned Kinglets, and Hermit Thrush on territory.

 

 A brief detour down Walling Camp Rd found Least Flycatchers and a Ring-necked Duck.   Back at the intersection with Boy Scout Rd. a Hermit Thrush called and a Yellowlegs (sp) was on the far side of the pond.  Brown Creepers and a porcupine were found on the way to Crumhorn Lake which was lined with American Restarts. Crumhorn Lake Rd. had Towhee and Blue-winged and Prairie Warblers.  

 

Proceeding to Cooperstown, Otsego Lake had fly over Osprey, gulls, and a female Common Merganser with young.  Heading back south on County route 33 we had great looks at hunting Kestrel and male Northern Harrier, a beautiful gray ghost.  Milford center had Chimney Swifts and a nesting pair of Wood Duck were on the pond at the intersection of West Main and Chlorinator Rd.  

 

The nesting Bald Eagle on Schoharie Creek in Prattsville was cooperative, flying overhead with a number of Turkey Vultures.   The creek also had good numbers of common mergansers off route 23A.  The Ashokan Reservoir stop had a breeding colony of cliff swallows and Double-crested Cormorants. The day ended in New Paltz where Purple Martins had returned to their nest box.

 

Sunday began in the Bashakill WMA main parking lot.  We had south winds overnight and some warblers and flycatchers were on the move.   Moorhen and Willow Flycatchers called from the marsh, a flock of Cedar Waxwing flew overhead, and Canada, Magnolia, and Blackpoll Warblers called from the forest. A Swainson’s Thrush took a stroll across the parking lot. After birding the area we made our way to Bear Mountain State Park where near the top we had Worm-eating Warblers, Eastern Bluebird, and Indigo Bunting.  After stopping at West Point, we headed home.  Our Trip total was 112 species.

 

Respectfully submitted, Peter Stephan

 

Greenstone Hollow Nature Preserve - May 27, 2017

The day was cloudy and cool.  Recent rains created some muddy and water logged spots.  The leaves were out, so we practiced birding by ear.  Only occasionally did we get to see the birds.  Seven of us gathered for the Greenstone trip.The roadside started us off with a variety of birds.  A Green Heron flew over.  Several Yellow Warblers were calling.  One Blue-gray Gnatcatcher was sighted.  Fully a third of our count was seen before starting down the trail.In the shrubby field we found a scattering of Blue-winged Warblers.  This is one of their favored habitats, and one we are trying to maintain.  Single Common Yellowthroats and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks were heard.In the marsh we heard an Adler or Willow Flycatcher.  Not sure which.  Back out at the road we got a pair of Wood Ducks flying over.  We got some looks at an American Redstart in a tree, and a small flock of Cedar Waxwings. We had a total of 34 species, including 4 warblers.

Respectfully submitted, Larry Lunden

Babcock Pond Bird Walk - May 20, 2017

 On a cool, drizzly morning, 9 intrepid (foolish?) birders took a long (4 hour) walk through woods, fields, ponds, and an old dump. Our efforts resulted in finding-or hearing-a total of 54 species, none of which was unusual, but included 5 individual Black-billed Cuckoos, several Ravens, and N. Rough-winged Swallows. And, as we drove off for home, the sun came out.

 Respectfully submitted, Rob Mirer


Mt. Auburn/Plum Island Bird Walk - May 18, 2017

A hardy group of folks set out on the hottest day of the year to see what birds might also not have the sense to stay out of the sun. Highlights from Mt. Auburn were black- and yellow-billed cuckoos, Baltimore and Orchard Orioles, Tennessee, Black-throated Green, and Blackpoll Warblers, and a great view of a Cooper's Hawk who was a kind enough to fly in low over our heads. Because we weren't quite hot enough yet we then set out for Plum Island where among other things we saw Chestnut-sided and Magnolia Warblers, Black-bellied Plovers, Glossy Ibis, and a red and orange Scarlet Tanager. 

A total of 71 species were seen, 44 at Mt. Auburn and 46 at Plum Island. And, in what was a major victory, no one succumbed to the heat.

Respectfully submitted, Jon Ward


Cromwell Meadows WMA, Cromwell - May 20, 2017


A beautiful day greeted a quiet group of 2 birders.  The leaves were all out, so we had to bird by ear for many of the species.

We heard several Black-throated Green Warblers singing in the trees.  None of them came out to se seen.  We did get a quick look at a Rose-breasted Grosbeak.  Yellow, Blue-winged, and Black and White were the only other warblers to be heard.

The only waterfowl were Mute Swans and Canada Geese.  The only raptor was a lone Turkey Vulture.

We had a quiet walk and saw 21 species with 4 warblers.

Respectfully submitted, Larry Lunden


 
Tanager Hill and Goodrich Road, Simsbury - May 10, 2017

Fifty-three species of birds, a howling pack of coyotes, and one garter snake met at the Simsbury Land Trust’s Tanager Hill and nearby Goodrich Road properties to observe eighteen birders from HAS.  Despite the cool, early morning temperatures, a spectacular male Scarlet Tanager serenaded us from high in a tree, just yards from the parking area. This provided a wonderful start to the proceedings.  Our group then ascended the hill and was greeted by a low-flying Pileated Woodpecker.  Soon thereafter our target bird, a male Hooded Warbler, appeared, but for only an instant before swooping down and disappearing into a nearby thicket.  However, just slightly farther up the trail, a second Hooded Warbler ventured onto a wide-open branch and gave each of us a long, thorough and thoroughly satisfying look.  Other warblers included Northern Parula, Black-and- white, Black-throated Blue, and Ovenbird.  After traversing the narrow boardwalk across a wooded swamp, we were happened-upon by a rather late Blue-headed Vireo.  Emerging from the forest and onto the powerline cut, some from our group were observed by a single Prairie Warbler, a Blue-winged Warbler, and an Indigo Bunting.  Back into the woods and down the hill by an old farm pond were a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, a Common Yellowthroat, and a very cooperative Green Heron which perched in a tree for several minutes.  Leaving the pond and descending toward the parking lot, we were bade farewell by a Swainson’s Thrush and a distant Veery.  After departing Tanager Hill, several of us drove three miles to the Land Trust’s Wegner Property on Goodrich Road.  This open field served as a militia training field back in the days of the Revolution.  Here we were observed by several newly-arrived Bobolinks and a female Bluebird.  Also present were a male and female Turkey, each marching in perfect formation. 

Respectfully submitted,
Doug Beach, Roger Preston, and Jon Ward
             

East Rock - May 13, 2017

Saturday May 13 5 birders assembled at East Rock Park New Haven/Hamden for my annual trip there. Viewing conditions were horrible with heavy cloud cover but at least it was dry and not windy. We started off at the lower level where we spotted 3 Great Egrets, a very late (probably sick) sleeping drake Common Merganser, many Northern Rough Winged Swallows and a Rose Breasted Grosbeak. However, warblers were very hard to come by and of the 7 species noted some were only heard.
We next drove to the upper level where the best birds were 2 rather close Common Ravens and a good look at a Swainson’s Thrush. We observed an American Robin on the nest and had a nice look at a Wood Thrush feeding on the ground. Although the Wood Thrush is a rather common bird one does not always get a good look at them since they are shy. With the sky becoming darker we decided to call it quits at 10:30. We tallied a total of 48 species. Under better conditions we could have achieved probably 60 or more species.

Respectfully submitted, Paul Desjardins

Jug Bay, MD - May 5 - 7. 2017

In spite of awful weather, eight members of HAS joined me in Upper Marlboro, MD to go on one of Greg Kearns pontoon boat trip up the Patuxent River in Jug Bay.  The drive down was hard for people, some arriving just in time for dinner at a local place in Upper Marlboro, but the dinner was good.

Saturday morning we drove down to Patuxent River Park and joined Greg Kerns, the naturalist there for the past 30 years, for our trip up Jug Bay.  The boat was covered in Tree Swallows who had to make room for us.  We were joined by several members of the Montgomery Bird Club who took advantage of the opportunity to check out the nesting Osprey.

There were many, many juvenile Bald Eagles flying about in the gray skies.  Fortunately the forecasted rain held off til the last half hour of the trip.  We motored up the Bay slowing at a few of the more than 30 nests Greg had installed.  He was full of stories and information about the bay and its history.  An interesting moment was when two eagles flew over with huge escaped goldfish in their talons. People have dumped their small fish in the bay, and they've grown into large carp.  The last bit up the narrow neck of the Patuxent Rive was one of the best moments where we had a Prothonotary Warbler giving us great views as he flitted among the trees and ferns.

After lunch in a local market which had great barbeque, we were picked up in the Park van and taken to an area where there was a Great Blue Heron rookery. It was the first visit Greg had made this season and he was very disappointed at the fact that there were so many fewer nests than in the past.  The Sycamore trees where they nest were huge! and the way there was difficult, a steep slope to reach the bottom to look up at the nests.  But we all made it down, and back up! only one person got baptized with "wash" from the nests.  The murmur of chicks and parents filled the air.

Dinner Saturday night was on the Chesapeake Bay at a restaurant that served, natch, sea food!

Sunday morning dawned bright and clear and sunny but cold.  After a big breakfast we headed to Merkle Sanctuary which was founded originally to provide a stopover for Canada Geese, little did he know what he was doing!  The drive around provided a few more warbler species, Parula, Redstart, Hooded and Eastern Kingbird.  The cool wind was picking up again, and kept down many species, but we ended with a respectable list of 65.

 Respectfully submitted, Stephanie Lovell


Beginners Bird Walk #4 - Station 43 - April 29, 2017

Twenty-seven people enjoyed a long, hot and muggy morning at Station 43. Boots were
still needed at the swamp area. Highlights of birds seen were:

Wood Ducks, Common Mergs (on the river), Mallards, Great Blue Heron, Wild Turkey.
Also - D.C. Cormorants and Common Loon (on the river), Red-tailed Hawk, Palm Warbler,
Yellow-rumped Warbler, Spotted Sandpiper (on the river).
Also - Bank and Tree Swallows, House Wren, Bluebird, Yellow Warbler,
Northern Waterthrush, White-throated Sparrows.

A total of 51 species was tallied at Dunkin' Donuts.
Thank you to all who attended.

Respectfully submitted,
Roger Preston / John Ward

Great Pond Simsbury CT,  Saturday, April 15, 2017


A group of twenty-seven people arrived at 8:00 a.m. It was a very cool morning that warmed up as time went on. Many of the ducks had moved on but Wood Ducks remained, as well as Blacks, Mallards and one pair of Green-winged Teal.

The Killdeer are staying - also many Tree Swallows and Belted Kingfishers.
Pileated Woodpeckers put on a good show and were seen by all.

Other birds of interest were Pine and Yellow-rumped Warblers,
Golden-crowned Kinglet, Eastern Towhee, Brown Creepers, Red-tailed and
Red-shouldered Hawks, Turkey Vulture, Eastern Phoebe, and Great Blue Heron.

Thirty-five species were seen. Many thanks for the large and enthusiastic attendance.

Respectfully submitted, Roger Preston / Gil Kleiner / Jon Ward


Sachuest Point, RI - Saturday, March 25, 2017

Saturday March 25 enticed only five birders to show up for the annual Rhode Island trip. We birded all day under overcast skys but at least the rain held off. We started off at Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge where we saw the usual assortment of ducks including Harlequins, Common Eiders, several White Winged Scoters as well as Black Scoters. Both loon species were seen including a Common Loon in breeding plumage. Unusual for this early was a Lesser Yellowlegs and numerous Purple Sandpipers added to the mix.

 Next we visited Scarborough Beach State Park which is located near Point Judith. We were hoping to spot the Black Headed Gull which is often see here but no luck this time. Almost nothing was seen here so we headed to Point Judith where we ate our lunch hoping to spot whatever came by. The only new species for the day were several Surf Scoters.

 Our final Destination was to Trustrom Pond National Wildlife Refuge. The only Northern Gannet of the day was seen here. It is here that we always add a lot of passerine species. New for the day here were Downy and Hairy Woodpecker, White Breasted Nuthatch, Tufted Titmouse, an audio Golden Crowned Kinglet and a couple of sparrows. The real treat here are the waterfowl. We observed Gadwall, American Wigeon, 4 Northern Pintails and several Redheads among others. We ended with 18 species of ducks thanks to Trustrom. We also had both cormorant species side by side for comparison and we saw a Great Egret. We ended the day with 60 species.

Respectfully submitted, Paul Desjardins

Beginners Birds Walk #3 - Station 43 - February 25, 2017

On a very warm morning with temperatures in the sixties, thirty-one birders enjoyed a snow-less walk. A large group from the Manchester Garden Club attended.

The swamp produced Wood Ducks, Mallards, Green-winged Teal and Ring-necked Ducks. Many Red-winged Blackbirds were back. Belted Kingfishers were heard and seen.  A flying and perched Cooper's Hawk showed off and at least three Red-tailed Hawks were seen. One Common Merganser and a group of Canada Geese were spotted on the CT River.

Other birds of interest were Flicker, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Carolina Wren, Eastern Bluebirds, Mockingbird, Tree Sparrow, Song and White-throated Sparrows, Juncos, Cardinal, and Common Grackles. Two Rusty Blackbirds were a good find!

A total of thirty-nine species were identified and tallied at Dunkin' Donuts

Respectfully submitted,
Roger Preston / Gil Kleiner / John Ward


 Hartford County Boat Launch Tour - February 5, 2017

 

Twelve birders gathered at the Donald Barnes Boat Launch in Enfield for the first of seven visits to local boat launches along the Connecticut River. Tolerable temperatures, light winds and clear skies made for a near perfect day of birding.

 

Our first task of the morning was sorting through the two-thousand or so Canada Geese gathered along the far shore of the river. In time, our group was rewarded with sightings of not one, but two Barnacle Geese, a species typically found this time of year wintering in northwestern Europe. We were also fortunate enough to discover a drake Barrows Goldeneye among the constantly diving Common Goldeneye, three Bufflehead and seven Ring-necked Duck.

 

Of course, Bald Eagles showed well, at least ten birds were spotted between the Donald Barnes and nearby Kings Island boat launch. An odd sighting at the Kings Island boat launch were two Wild Turkey roosting high in the trees next to the eagles!

 

The State Boat Launch just south of the Dexter Coffin Bridge in Windsor provided birders with a nice view of an active Bald Eagle nest as well as a number of Common Merganser hunting for fish in open water.  

 

The Bissel Bridge Boat Launch, also in Windsor, allowed a couple more distant Bald Eagle sightings and a Belted Kingfisher. But the highlight of the stop, and most surprising, was when a pair of Peregrine Falcon decided to perch in a dead tree right next to our group! The falcons were so obliging, people were even taking selfies with them! Both of these birds are alleged to have previously nested under this exact bridge.

 

Boat launch stops at Riverside Park and Charter Oak Landing in Hartford produced two Bald Eagles, Hooded Merganser, a variety of common gulls and one more Peregrine Falcon. Our last site, the Wethersfield Cove boat launch in Old Wethersfield, left us with an lasting image of an eagle soaring over a picturesque winter scene. A fitting way to end a successful day.

 

In addition to seeing great birds, this trip was designed to expose people to lesser known Hartford birding sites and an easier way to enjoy bird watching during harsh winter months.  

 

Respectively submitted, Paul Cianfaglione

Beginners Walk #2 - Station 43 - January 7, 2017

Sixteen birders gathered at 9:00 a.m. on a very cold morning (20-22 degrees). Much ice was moving on the CT River and there was very low water level in the swamp.

Four or five Red-tailed Hawks were the raptors off the day. Four species of Sparrows followed us through the cornfields. Other birds of interest were Red-bellied Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Bluebird and Cardinals.

Total species for the walk amounted to only twenty-four. The group was able to head for home before the impending snow storm moved in.

Respectively submitted,
Roger Preston / Gil Kleiner / Jon Ward

 

 


 


 

 

 

         

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