Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Just A Note...

I haven't forgotten about this! It's on my list, for sure. I have some updates coming soon. I just started a new job and am not settled, so by the time I get home I'm really stressed out and not feeling up to taking the time to type here. Plus, I lost one of my birding lists, which is driving me mad! All I know is that it stated that I saw 1 male Yellow Warbler and 1 Batimore Oriole (I nearly screamed with glee - I can't remember the last time I saw one!) and 1 Gray Catbird during my lunch break at work last week in Argyle, NY. I'm super-excited to see Yellow Warblers up here. I first encountered them last summer in Erie, PA. They were THE summer bird there, just everywhere I turned in the state park there. I was sad that I probably wouldn't be seeing them in upstate NY, so they are very welcome. And the Oriole...well, people don't see those very often, and I love their orange and black combo. It was a treat.

This past weekend I spent some time at Moreau Lake State Park - absolutely one of my favorite places. I helped a bunch of boy scouts clear out a trail in the morning, and then came back in the evening for a Full Moon (strawberry!) hike. I had a blast talking to Gary Hill (the naturalist) in the morning, he always has fun little facts to tell me, and he's so kind. I don't know some of the other guys I see around there, but they are always cool. And of course, there is Dave (the environmental educator), who cracks me up when he gets going with his wit and is all around interesting to talk to about anything and everything. Plus seeing him wolf down about 7 hot dogs in one day is no less than amusing.

I didn't actually do too much birding there this time. Not that I wasn't interested, but when you're dangerously wielding some hedge clippers, it's a little difficult to stop and look up with some binoculars. And as much as I like going on hikes there, I have found that the summer groups are full of campers who expect Dave to babysit their loud, annoying children, which just ruins the mood. However, I did note the "Here I am, in the tree, look up, at the top" call I kept hearing during the morning adventure. My brain failed me at the time so I asked Dave if he knew, and he wasn't confident but thought it was the Red-eyed Vireo. He was correct!

There was a great point during the hike where Gary brought out his bird calls. The turkey call didn't bring anything, but his crow calls absolutely did - in no time a mob of American crows was overhead, loudly cawing. I can't even describe how awesome it was. It also brought in another bird who began calling behind us which caught the attention of another hiker, Dave, and Sue (who is so totally amazing I also have a hard time putting it into words). The call was confusing at first, but I quickly realized it sounded a lot like an American Robin with a sore throat, which Sibley noted as the call of the Scarlet Tanager. Unnamed hiker handed over his crappy binoculars, and between the bins and the poor lighting, all I saw was an orange-red belly and the underside of some wings which looked gun-metal grey. Sue pointed out that the bird had a forked tail. And Dave amazed me at his great eyesight - he pointed the bird out to me before I could remotely figure out where it was. So all of us there were quite convinced it was a Scarlet Tanager despite that observation didn't lead to anything too solid.

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I also did some birding last night at the WFA house. I'll leave the counts till later.

I do want to point out that while sitting in my car in Argyle, NY during lunch today, I caught sight of 6 Cedar Waxwings sitting in dead trees. It was very overcast and quite windy today and I noted that the dead trees were protected by much taller vegetation. They were very cute, all huddled together on the bare branches, making their thin, high tseee calls.

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