Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Birding Like Mad

That's what I feel like I've been doing. I've been seeing so many birds!

Yesterday I stopped by Hudson Pointe Nature Preserve, located off Corinth Road, somewhere between South Glens Falls and Moreau. I've never been there before yesterday. I like the location and the habitat, but I guess either the birds aren't as enthusiastic or they were deeper in the woods, far from the trails. So birding-wise, I was not impressed. Plenty of Chipping Sparrows, Black-capped Chickadees, and woodpeckers, and various other typical woodland species. This preserve juts out into the Hudson River, so there were also swallows (likely tree) and a Belted Kingfisher making lots of noise over the water. Also notable were two Broad-winged Hawk flyovers and two little Brown Creepers who flew onto a trunk right in front of me, at eye level, to run around the trunk making alarm calls. Ah Brown Creepers, how I love thee.

Today was busy for birds. I went with Sue to Hovey Pond and then to part of the Warren Bikeway (that's what I call it, I've seen other names - it's the long bikepath that runs through greater Glens Falls). To these spots, I shall return. Hovey Pond has a great wetland area (by wetland, I mean serious cattails, complete with green frogs and turtles). It is home to at least a dozen Red-winged Blackbirds, at least one Common Yellowthroat, and some Song Sparrows. I didn't hear much more, but the weather in this area was strange today. Extremely humid with showers at this time of morning (9:45 AM-ish). The bike path is a weird sort of area, lots of understory/brush with taller trees. It's an extremely pleasant place with plenty of wildflowers to check out, many with snails hanging around on them. The thyme has easily become a favorite. Bird-wise, there were lots of American Robins, plenty of American Goldfinches, an American Redstart, plenty of Northern Cardinals, and a Common Yellowthroat who came out into an eye-level bush to make lots of noise at us.

I then went to the Queensbury/Quaker Rd Hannaford to not go birding, but got a nice surprise at 12:45 PM (now very sunny, humid, and warm) when a Great Blue Heron flew over the parking lot. This may sound extremely surprising if you're not from the area, but Hannaford was built in a marshy area, and one apparently lives not too far away.

Finished with what I had to do for the morning, I decided to make my way to Ash Drive by Glen Lake. I've fallen in love with this spot. I got over there around maybe 2:20 PM, and as soon as I parked, I heard thunder. Uh oh, I thought. Looking around, I saw an extremely foreboding dark cloud heading rather quickly my way, and decided to stick around through it. A bit of rain and a few rumbles later, I decided to hit the trail, watching the gun-metal gray cloud leaving me. It never did clear up for the 35 minutes I was birding.
What did I see/hear?:
Yellow Warbler (2)
Common Yellowthroat (1)
American Goldfinch (5)
American Robin (3)
American Crow (1)
Red-winged Blackbird (10 M, 3 F, 7 heard - 20 total)
Eastern Kingbird (1)
Common Grackle (2 adults, 1 juv - 3 total)
Gray Catbird (4)
Great Blue Heron (1) - was mobbed by some male Red-winged Blackbirds
Chipping Sparrow (1)
Song Sparrow (2)
Red-eyed Vireo (1)
Eastern Wood-Pewee (1)

ALSO! Possibly Osprey, flying off in the distance over Glen Lake! The lighting was poor to really make it out, but the black face stripe made an osprey a likely candidate.

Another ALSO: I spotted by first Chestnut-sided Warbler! I almost didn't get to see him, he didn't respond well to pishing and refused to come down from any tall trees. Fortunately, when I did spot him, he kept peering down at me from the branch he was perched on, exposing his yellow crown to my sight. I also caught sight of the black eyeline, black mustachial stripes, white face, streaky back, white undersides and undertail coverts, and distinct chocolate brown long streaks down the sides. The only way I ever found him was by his constant singing, which to me sounded like, "tew tew tew tew, pee-pee-yoo," a bright, clear, cheery, quickly sung song, with the first four notes slurred upward and the last one downward. It felt like quite an accomplishment but I think I'd rather learn to ID them by song, as I got serious neck-strain from trying to find him.

I was run off the trail by another extremely dark (nearly black), forboding cloud bringing thunder overhead, coming right in my path. I tried simply outwalking it, but it was apparently moving about 25 mph and I had to jog to miss the rain. Little did I know that it would also bring lightning and an hour and a half downpour that would leave me stranded away from home since I couldn't even see to drive.

Also notable was the Wild Turkey I saw hanging out on someone's yard on Bay Road around 5:30 PM, after the worst of the storm was over. I chuckled, as they hold themselves as if they think of themselves as proud birds.

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