Sunday, March 28, 2010

Eagles, kestrels and falcon

Colleen and I spent much of the day visiting sites in Schoharie, Montgomery and Albany Counties. At Franklinton Vlaie (Vly), there was still ice and snow covering much of the area. Just a small group of geese and ducks were present.

We hiked up to the top of Vroman's Nose next. The sun was out at the time we reached the top, and an adult Bald Eagle was soaring high up to the southwest. As we were about to descend, a smaller, sharp-winged bird was holding himself nearly in place facing the gusty, southerly wind. It was a Peregrine Falcon. We watched it soar and stoop for a while, very cool. Apparently there is at least one pair who use the craggy cliff face to nest.

At Mine Kill State Park, there was one adult and three immature Bald Eagles flying over the reservoir. The few ducks in a sheltered cove were mostly Common Mergansers, but with a twist- the water is running very high and fast throughout the area, and much of the water has a reddish-brown coloration to it (from iron oxide sediment?) The mergansers' normally white bellies had turned light orange from the discolored water.

Up in Sharon Springs, Ames, and Carlisle things were pretty quiet, with the exception of a fair abundance of American Kestrels, mostly seen on wires along the roadside. During a quick jaunt through Black Creek Marsh, there was a kestrel near the NE Industrial Park, and a kettle of eleven Turkey Vultures was viewed from the RR crossing at Hennessey Rd.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Early Spring birding

Here are some of the highlights from the past three weeks, including FOS (first-of-season) observations:

Red-winged Blackbird- March 2nd (Vischer Ferry NHP) FOS

Great Blue Heron- March 4th (Vischer Ferry NHP) FOS

Wood Duck- March 7th (RamsHorn-Livingston Sanctuary, Catskill) FOS

Marsh Wren- March 9th (Vischer Ferry NHP) overwintered !

Common Grackle- March 9th (Vischer Ferry NHP) FOS

Ruffed Grouse- March 10th (East of Ferry Dr., Rexford)

Northern Pintail- March 15th (Vischer Ferry NHP) FOS

Green-winged Teal- March 16th (Vischer Ferry NHP) FOS

Killdeer- March 17th (The Crossing, Halfmoon) FOS

Northern Mockingbird- March 18th (Albany Pine Bush- Discovery Center parking lot)

Tree Swallow- March 19th (Hudson-Mohawk bike path, Niskayuna) FOS

Lesser Scaup- March 19th (Hudson-Mohawk bike path, Niskayuna) FOS

Field Sparrow- March 20th (Five Rivers EEC) FOS

Eastern Phoebe- March 20th (Five Rivers EEC) FOS

Rusty Blackbird- March 22nd (Vischer Ferry NHP) FOS

Fox Sparrow- March 23rd (Ann Lee Pond, Albany) FOS

The next influx of returning migrants should be just after April 1st, with a warm spell possible throughout the week. Get out there and get your eyes and ears sharp again; peak migration starts a month from now!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Evening Grosbeaks at the Adirondack VIC- Newcomb

We took a two-hour drive north early on Saturday, arriving at the Visitor's Interperative Center in Newcomb at about eight-thirty. There were at least ten Evening Grosbeaks and a dozen Purple Finches in the parking lot area, waiting for the feeders to be filled. We watched them moving around the trees until the center opened at nine, then moved inside to get close up looks of them on the feeders.