Saturday, August 6, 2011

August Doldrums

This title just had to go with the last one!

It's now August, and birders in the Northeast, you know what that means...the bird world becomes awfully quiet. It's far past spring migration, it's pre-fall migration, and it's right after the breeding season for most songbirds. I do most of my birding by ear so for me it's very noticeable when the birds have simply stopped singing for mates and territories so much. And it has begun. Even the non-birders at Betar Byway have noticed.

This quiet and reduction in numbers of sightings (which was also mentioned on Hudson-Mohawk Birds' Yahoo Group) combined with the intense August heat and humidity tends to decrease my birding for the month, and I'm guessing it does for a lot of birders. Heck, even J. has been focusing a lot more on astronomy and Southern Adirondack Audubon doesn't even have an August program. I don't quite have another hobby to be so obsessive about, so I've gone back to reading about food, particularly how to prepare various types of food items. I've also gotten into couponing, being frugal, and simple living. And well, there's that job hunt...I'm currently impatiently awaiting a reply back, and yet it is only early Saturday.

So what WAS at Betar today? Well, I guess I missed retired DEC guy. Wood Duck guy was there today, and he showed me great photos from a nightcam of some moose and deer and a bear in his yard. The juvenile double-crested cormorant who I've seen there repeatedly like a trusty old friend was nowhere to be seen. And the juvenile cooper's hawk I enjoyed watching flying around the beach area while escaping some crows was not there. But the place is now loaded with American goldfinches! It is their breeding time, and Betar does have thistle. Cedar waxwings are everywhere there since all the berrying plants are ripe and one can never get enough views of those guys. There's been in increase in black-capped chickadees there and I'm not sure why, unless the increase is due to all the fledglings. American robins are of course all over there now, I saw a nest last week that had nestlings so close to fledgling status. And while I couldn't find the two juvenile still-fuzzy Canada geese that have been there on the edge of the river, I did catch a view of 17 adults swimming in the middle of the river.

There have also reliably been some barn swallows where I used to see tree swallows (and the tree swallows have been absent). I've had a blast peering at their extremely forked tails with my new bins. There's a great blue heron that has been lingering, even non-birders ask me about the bird. Today the heron was hiding way off past the beach, along the shoreline. I later spooked the heron from the tiny pool of water when you first enter Betar if you park near the beach parking. Woodpeckers are everywhere here, I tend to get plenty of downies, a flicker, a red-bellied, and a pileated. Yellow warblers are still around in very low numbers, as are Baltimore orioles...the American redstarts are gone. The Carolina wren I've heard since early May is still in the same spot, singing loudly (and I was woken by one this morning). I'm still getting plenty of catbirds mewing and scolding me. Song sparrows are aplenty, and be careful if you think you're hearing a towhee - I followed a towhee song one day only to find it was coming out of the head of a song sparrow, much to my confusion.

Sneak around the inlet and you're likely to find one or two juvenile wood ducks and maybe the adult female. Kingfishers and kingbirds are still around that spot, as are eastern phoebes.

The vireos are petering out too, I only had two red-eyes and two warblings.

So while birds are wrapping up their summers, I really wish the weather would wrap it up too!


Woodswalker said...

Well,despite it being the birding doldrums, you sure list plenty of feathery sightings. I love reading about your outings. Let's go together some time. I need more lessons in birding by ear, but I suppose I must wait until spring.

scapegoat said...
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Lindsey said...

Haha yes, there are still plenty of birds around! :) It's just funny how once one is in tune with nature, one notices the seasonal changes even before the seasons change! I would love to go together some time, I would love to teach you birds by ear - you can still get them singing and calling in the fall and winter, and I'm now going to be in your area more! :D