I swear I have not stopped birding, if you noticed the lull in entries! I've just been busy with other things, and my nature hikes have become...well, nature hikes, rather than pure birding hikes! July where I'm located does become a bit quieter bird-wise now that nesting is finishing up or done for many species, and I'm not seeing fall migration occurring here yet, though apparently it's begun in the Hudson Valley (south of me). I'll be keeping my ears and eyes ready. So a lot of what I'm hearing and seeing are residents still near their territories, where I've spotted them before, and my entries would simply be redundancies from the spring. Redundant posts may not be interesting, but I've loved that I can simply revisit certain individuals' "homes" in the woods. I can still be sure if I show up at Ash Drive near Glen Lake, I will see or hear the same male Yellow Warbler and same male Common Yellowthroat. This fascinates me. It's like saying hello to old friends and stopping by for a visit. And Mr. House Wren has been here every day, still singing his greatly trilled melodies.
I have been getting out though. On Sunday I took Jason (no, I haven't introduced him in a previous blog entry - I guess you'll just have to deal with the mystery!) out for a hike on the western side of Moreau Lake State Park. It was a little irksome that the park is becoming busier, but I do enjoy sharing info about the park with the confused visitors. I did not bird with binoculars while with Jason. I really wanted a hike out of this time, and I had a bag mishap - I don't have much of a strap on the bins, so once my bag was bust, I wasn't bringing them along. I did, however, bird by ear, not marking anything down, but pointing them out for Jason, who later told me he was intimidated (in a good way) by my skills. We heard American Crows, Black-throated Green Warblers (if you really haven't heard one and want to, they're all over Moreau Lake), Wood Thrushes, Scarlet Tanagers, Red-eyed Vireos, and um...well, that was it. It was awfully quiet in the park this weekend, and I really wasn't sure why. Maybe the combo of the ending of nesting season and the abundance of hikers and bikers. The hike itself was a blast though, and we got lost a few times only to find out we were very far from our intended spots.
On Friday, I went up Moreau Lake on the lake-side Nature Trail (with light blue markers) with Sue P. of http://watrlily.blogspot.com/ fame, and David Alfred, the Environmental Educator at Moreau Lake, who you should really talk to about mushrooms, because he LOVES them. Another absolutely great hike, and with more great people! This was partially intended to be an actual bird walk, but us three love to chat about all things natural, so it veered from that a bit. But I kept a list for us:
In the parking lot by the Nature Center (great spot for birds until the beach gets busy/loud):
- Black-capped Chickadee (2)
- Eastern Phoebe (2) - a nesting pair that's been there since spring
- Scarlet Tanager (1) - my first ever F Tanager! I screamed with quiet glee! She was shades of yellow and olive and a very light tan on the underside. I saw her collecting insects and quietly calling, "CHIP-burrrr" while observing me.
- White-breasted Nuthatch (1)
- Chipping Sparrow (4)
- American Goldfinch (2)
- Thrush sp. (1) - I still cannot ID it, it was hiding up in a tree and peering down at me from a branch. All I saw was a necklace of dark brown streaks, and a whitish mustachial line. It was certainly Thrush-sized and shaped, however.
- Ruby-throated Hummingbird (1) - spotted by Sue, as she was checking out some pretty flowers and the bird decided to visit them at that point.
Up the trail we went, with Dave making it official by giving the Intro speech! I wasn't expecting much bird-wise, being on the noisier side of the park (Eastern side of the mountain range, facing the lake). Boy was I surprised:
- Common Loon (1) - heard singing from the lake! Dave and I looked at each other in shock and excitement, as it was our first time ever hearing it call. A little odd for 10 AM.
- Black-capped Chickadee (10)
- Scarlet Tanager (2)
- Eastern Wood-Pewee (2)
- Broad-winged Hawk (1)
- Red-eyed Vireo (5)
- Wood Thrush (1)
- Winter Wren (1) - I give Sue major bonus points for hearing it from such a distance. If she didn't point it out, I would have likely missed the song. Because I'm not familiar with it. That's right, a new species for me!
- White-breasted Nuthatch (1)
- Dark-eyed Junco (1) - another major bonus to Sue. All three of us heard it singing a laser-beam-like trill, but none of us knew what it was. It's similar to Chipping Sparrows, but more musical. Sue actually spotted the Junco hiding very near a warbler.
- Blue Jay (1)
- Tufted Titmouse (1)
- Black-throated Green Warbler (2) calling "zee zee zee zoo ZEET!" and another (1) calling "zoo zee zoo zoo ZEET!" Yup, that's right, they have TWO distinct songs. It's confusing, especially when you also have Black-throated Blue Warblers with the similar song, "zoo zoo zooooo, zeeeet." I suggest listening to audio of each, although in my experience the Greens sound more exuberant and the Blues more tranquil, as their song is more drawn out.