Saturday, April 11, 2009

Humble Beginnings

Ah yes, so here we are. The snow has thawed, the sun is warm, and spring is here. Which means I get a little bird-crazy. And I have certainly been busy.

For today, Saturday, April 11th, I was busy doing y
ard work (spring cleaning) but kept an eye on my feathered friends throughout the day. The yard, which is located near Hadlock Pond, got these guys:

* 2 Mourning Doves
* 6 to 8 Black-capped Chickadees
* about 8 Pine Siskins - 2 or 3 obvious juvs! They were so very tiny. And very unafraid of my presence while they ate at the feeders.

* 1 White-breasted Nuthatch hanging upside-down on a very tall, leafless deciduous while continuously calling out it's nasal 'yank'.
* 2 American Goldfinches, likely juvs

Also sighted later in the day on Route 149 were two Turkey Vultures attempting to not get tossed around in the wind, and what was li
kely a Common Grackle sitting on a phone wire, with a pretty iridescent chest and belly of extremely dark blue, almost black. The Garden Center at the Queensbury Lowe's was full of extremely pudgy House Sparrows hiding amongst the trees for sale.


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To catch up on previous dates and mention sites worthy of bird-watching:

Yesterday which was Friday, April 10th, after helping out at Old Gick Farm at Wilton Wildlife Preserve (cleaning up some fallen/cut alder and pine trees part of some habitat restoration), I decided to finally check out the Bog Meadow Brook Trail in Saratoga Springs, NY. I've visited the nearby Wilton Mall for about a decade now, and somehow never knew this trail existed. Well, I was blown away. It's a neat litt
le trail that cuts through a marshy area and passes by a pond. This is absolutely my favorite habitat and unfortunately often too hard to find. I was nearly overwhelmed by the sheer amount of birds calling, and the pond seemed absolutely full of Red-winged Blackbirds, so my count number is probably quite low as to the real number.

*1 American Crow

* about 12 Black-capped Chickadees
* 3 unidentifiable sparrows due to them being so shy, hiding easily among reeds, and not calling
* 2 American Goldfinches making their 'potato-chip' undulating flight call
* 30 Red-winged Blackbirds, all sitting on reeds over the pond making various calls, some sounding like the clicking of a camera
* 1 Northern Cardinal calling
* 2 Common Grackles making the "chek-chek" call
* 1 woodpecker pecking (not yellow
-bellied sapsucker)
* 1 Canada Goose quietly standing in the shallow pond water. I applauded myself for a good eye on that one, he/she blended so well with the background that I almost didn't see it.
* 2 Mallards, a male noisily chasing a female over the water. I don't know much about Mallard behavior, but it seemed to be related to mating.
* 2 Hairy Woodpeckers who stuck around on trees long enough for me to get a good look at their outer tail feathers. I've seen enough Downys to know they were much too large.
* 2 potential Tree Swallows. I really
only see them in flight, above the trees near water, and they don't always call, but distinct swallow shape and very white bellies.
* 1 Mourning Dove
* who-knows-what making a "wheedle-wheedle" call, absolutely beautiful, clearly whistled. An hour of searching online and in my field guides offered no help whatsoever.

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My Moreau Lake State Park birding adventure on Sunday, April 5th was rewarding. I've absolutely fallen in love with this SP, and there's some great trails, and the park is nice for birding as long as you can keep the curious dog-walkers away. There is woodpecker evidence (tree cavities) EVERYWHERE. Also, bird nests of long past galore. I stuck around the paved road that follows the lake to the beachfront (where the Nature Center is) and then headed off on the bridge that crosses over to
the campgrounds, then hit up a nature trail that leads around a small marshy pond, back to the beach area.

* 2 Canada Goose resting near the lake shore, silent, almost creepy with how still they were.
* 3-5 Eastern Phoebes curiously checking me out and making alarm calls near the private cabin.
* 1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker hanging
silently on a tree near the playground. Looked about ready to explode.
* 2 Tree Swallows, again those silhouettes flying against the sky.
* way too many American Crows to count.
* mobbed by a bunch of Tufted Titmice near the campgrounds. One bold one stood on the ground about 3 feet from me, making alarm calls. I love those birds.
* way too many Black-capped Chickadees to count.
* 1 Downy Woodpecker calling
* 1 Turkey Vulture seen just outside
the park

**Bonus sighting! Four Mourning Cloak butterflies, likely all males considering their instinct to get back into the sun even after being disturbed, hanging out on the nature trail that leads back to the beach.



That concludes my recent adventures!

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