Sunday, August 30, 2009

Birding Before the Storm - Friday, 28 August

I just had to get out on Friday, the day before Tropical Storm Danny was to roll through the area and dump some water on upstate NY. For those of you who don't know, tropical storms and hurricanes and cause fairly large dumpings of migratory birds to the trees/ground. Think of it like airplanes. So I expected to see a few, well, unexpected birds. And oh, I did!

I actually birded in three spots on Friday, but I for once will not list them all out. I do, however, want to mention that I saw an adorably cute baby chipmunk with it's mum on the Warren County Bikepath. It was trying to hide under it's mum and would peek it's head up to sniff hers.

Also mentionable is the herb garden at Hovey Pond Park in Queensbury. I never paid much attention to the garden there, as I'm not usually a fan of gardens unless they are full of wildflowers. These are worth looking at, especially the blue garden, which contains sea holly, a plant with amazingly brilliant blue stems! The herb garden is also totally worth checking out. I personally like to rub all of the leaves of the plants with my fingers and have a sniff, and I was much rewarded. There's spearmint, lemon balm (mmmm), lavender, thyme, anise (smells like licorice if you're wondering), and sage!

The Betar Byway is where I got my surprises:
- Canada Goose (that 1 juvenile is still around, and looking healthier)
- White-breasted Nuthatch (1)
- Black-capped Chickadee (16)
- Gray Catbird (8)
- American Goldfinch (1 male, 13 unknown)
- American Redstart (this is one of the surprises!!! 1 breeding male, 1 juv male, and 1 female!)
- Ring-billed Gull (1 - kind of a surprise, I usually don't see them here. It was fishing the Hudson)
- Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (1 - another surprise! I saw this one clearly so there was no mistaking it)
- Baltimore Oriole (1 - yet another surprise, and it was a breeding male, so brilliantly orange and black)
- Blue Jay (1)
- American Crow (1)
- Eastern Wood-Pewee (1)
- Mourning Dove (1)
- Northern Cardinal (1 male, 1 unknown)
- Cedar Waxwing (16 total, 1 was a juvenile for sure, 1 had the orange-tipped honeysuckle tail...the sheer number of these birds was a little surprising)
- Belted Kingfisher (1)
- Downy Woodpecker (1)

The inlet here had:
- Black-capped Chickadee (2)
- Eastern Phoebe (1)
- Gray Catbird (2)
- Mallard (10)
- White-breasted Nuthatch (1)
and a fuzzy black caterpillar.

I was so excited to see the gnatcatcher, oriole, and redstarts. I expected them to be gone by now, so they were welcome sightings. I thank the tropical storm for likely bringing them in for a stopover. I hope they fared well at the Betar Byway rest stop.

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