Sunday, June 28, 2009

Betar Byway

I went to the Betar Byway earlier today. SO glad that I did, because I saw 29 species in a little over an hour, and the individual count is much higher than that. It was just this onslaught of birds. It reminded me of last summer, when I was interning at a major migration stopover site. What I saw today was like the last few days of spring migration, when it dwindles down.

Also, Betar Byway tends to be fairly heavily traveled by locals, pedestrians and cyclists alike. Most people are cool. Almost everyone says hi, retired people like to ask if I'm with Audubon, and two preteen boys today were all excited to see a birder as they were riding their bikes! There was also a super-creepy dude cycling by, and a middle-aged woman glared at me and passed me by near inches despite that I was standing just off of the wide, paved path. I'm not sure what the hostility was about there, but it's not common. People tend to like birders. I also finally randomly ran across two other birders on the path who seemed to stray as far away from me as they possibly could, which was unfortunate because as I was spotting Yellow Warbler after Yellow Warbler, I heard the woman say something like, "It's a warbler, but I don't know that call, I don't know what it is." I really wished I could have shared with them my knowledge and helped them learn one of my fave calls.

Betar deserves a list rather than a paragraph, because of the number of birds:

- 10 Canada Geese (2 pairs of adults, 6 juveniles - they're starting to look like adults! awww)
- 25 Mallards (12 breeding males. The Mallards were sitting in the grass near the geese)
- 2 Mourning Doves
- 1 Downy Woodpecker
- 1 Pileated Woodpecker
- 1 Eastern Wood-Pewee
- 1 Eastern Phoebe
- 1 Eastern Kingbird
- 1 Red-eyed Vireo
- 2 American Crows
- 5 Tree Swallows (1 had a nest in a cavity!)
- 6 Black-capped Chickadees
- 1 Tufted Titmouse
- 3 White-breasted Nuthatches (2 were on trees on either side of a walkway, constantly calling to each other - they were definitely a pair)
- 1 House Wren
- 2 Wood Thrushes (1 was very close to the Byway, calling constantly, but I couldn't spot it with my binoculars no matter what)
- 12 American Robins
- 9 Gray Catbirds
- 1 Northern Mockingbird (in the American Legion parking lot)
- 12 Yellow Warblers (saw 1 male, saw a few others flitting around - I also actually pished one right out onto the Byway in the dirt!)
- 9 American Redstarts (saw two beautiful breeding males, 1 young male, 1 female)
- 1 Scarlet Tanager
- 3 Song Sparrows
- 3 Northern Cardinals (a male sat right out in the open looking at me - SO beautiful)
- 5 Red-winged Blackbirds (3 males at the least)
- 5 Common Grackles (saw 1 adult with 2 juvs following behind - most people don't think of Grackles as cute, but they were. One was begging a little too much and the adult pecked it briefly)
- 1 Batimore Oriole (spotted it while the other birders were nearby, they missed out)
- 8 American Goldfinches (2 males)
- 1 House Sparrow (in American Legion parking lot)

WHEW I'm exhausted now. That adventure was so incredibly fulfilling.
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