Monday, June 15, 2009

Wilton Wildlife Preserve - June 12

Oh hello there! Yes I've been behind. I'll get right to it.

Friday, June 12th I went to the Wilton Wildlife Preserve around 9:30 AM to help out with Karner Blue habitat monitoring at the Old Gick parcel. It's really something to see, the habitat itself is rather unique in upstate NY, all that sandy soil with habitat specific nectar plants. It makes me think of a beach without the water. It's also early successional, with a few older trees scattered here and there. Great habitat for birds, really. The open location is surrounded by woods, creating nice edge habitat.

I didn't really bird while I was helping the 5 other people there as I wanted to focus on counting lupine stems and nectar plants, but Chris, who works with the Wilton Wildlife Preserve and TNC, was curious as to what birds that area was attracting, so when those 5 went off to lunch I took the time to check out the area with my binoculars.

Here is what I got:
- 1 House Wren (calling)
- 1 American Robin (in the tall grass)
- 1 Black-capped Chickadee
- 1 Field Sparrow (despite that there had been a few more calling earlier)
- 2 Scarlet Tanagers (never did see, but they were making various calls, and this is the first time I got to hear their 'chip-burrrr')
- 8 Mourning Doves (I flushed them all in a group out of the tall grass)
- 3 Chipping Sparrows
- 1 Song Sparrow (though more had been calling earlier)
- 2 Indigo Buntings! Likely a breeding pair. They were difficult to ID at first, they were not making typical calls (at least, not the recorded ones I listened to - the song was a high note, then low, then back to the high one, then a low trill). If there's anything else with a royal blue body with darker (almost black) tail and lores, let me know. And the lighting was weird that day, making the male look like he had a yellow bill. Weird...
- 2 American Goldfinches
- 1 male Downy Woodpecker (I got a great sight of him)
- 1 Eastern Kingbird? Is the white terminal tail band diagnostic? Because I totally saw one. But this looked quite huge compared to the ones I'm used to. The head and face were deep black with an extremely contrasty white throat and breast, with buffy undertail. Had a quite sharp, very loud 'chip.' It was great watching it exhibit typical flycatcher behavior - the tail flicks and flying out from a perch to catch an insect and to fly right back to the perch.

I was excited! For not even having planned to go birding, that was a really good list. And the Old Gick parcel is not very big. Any place where I can see Indigo Buntings and Kingbirds and hear Scarlet Tanagers and Song Sparrows and Field Sparrows excites me. And the House Wren's song always brightens my day.

I can't exactly recall now, but I believe this was the day that there were 2 Broad-winged Hawks flying over the WFA house calling out their "TEEEE-yeeeeeeeeee" whistle and 2 Turkey Vultures following closely behind.

Also an update on the fledglings. Who knows! There were chickadees alllll over the yard on Friday. I also found a nest with two baby robins in it on Friday! I was so excited!

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