My Bird Blog: A blog about my birding discoveries, bird feeders, birds on my life lists, and all things bird related

Chirps and Cheeps Bird Blog

A Birder's Blog About Birding in Western New York

Season Firsts: Warblers and a Gray Catbird

Published April 18, 2014
Tags: General Observations, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Palm Warbler, Gray Catbird, Cedar Waxwing, Winter Wren, Northern Rough-legged Swallow, Broad-winged Hawk

A couple of hikes the last couple of days have brought a few more season firsts.  The warblers are beginning to show up and I saw my first Yellow-rumped and Palm just this morning! What a joy to finally find these guys after such a long winter.  I had a Pine Warbler last Sunday at the feeders, so that makes 3 different warblers so far this spring.

I also saw my first Broad-winged Hawks of the year, Northern Rough-legged Swallows, two Winter Wrens, and a Gray Catbird. A  nice, little flock of Cedar Waxwings was fun to watch too. And Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers continue to show up almost everywhere. I'm always surprised at their loud drumming; they are STRONG drummers!

I enjoyed a couple of  hours at the Hawk Watch with Jim Landau yesterday too. There wasn't a lot of activity but it was a great opportunity to practice some ID skills. Broad-winged Hawks, Red-shouldered, Red-taileds, and Cooper's all gave us some nice views.

The season is gearing up and so many great birds are being found!
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Palm Warbler - first of the year
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Beautiful male Palm Warbler
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Female Yellow-rumped Warbler
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Yellow-rumped Warbler - first of the year
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Eastern Phoebe - I accidentally came upon their nest site
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Eastern Phoebe
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Gray Catbird - first of the year
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Gray Catbird
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Golden-crowned Kinglet
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Ruby-crowned Kinglet
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Hermit Thrush
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Hermit Thrush
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Brown Creeper
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Brown Creeper hard at work
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Red-winged Blackbird - so common, but so striking
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Blue Sulpher - first I've seen of one of these this year
Reply from: Andrea Burke on 4/18/2014 8:25 PM
 Love the bird list and dates. this is a great help for me as a newbie to birding. Would love to go out with you sometime!"


More Migrants Along the Waterfront

Published April 14, 2014
Tags: General Observations, Brown Thrasher, Eastern Towhee, Brown Creeper, Fox Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Song Sparrow, American Tree Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow

I found a few nice migrants during a quick lunch tour along the waterfront early this afternoon. I only had an hour before meeting with my tax accountant (yes, I know - I'm cutting it close this year!), so I didn't cover a lot of territory.

The little area I walked brought this year's first Brown Thrasher - two as a matter of fact. I also found another Hermit Thrush, another Fox Sparrow, a male Eastern Towhee, 2 Northern Flickers, and a few Brown Creepers. Sparrows were plentiful. I saw American Tree, Field, Swamp, Song, White-throated, and Fox.  This year, it seems the Fox Sparrows are in good supply.

I just made it up to the water for only a few minutes before I had to leave and caught sight of some Red-breasted Mergansers, Scaup, and Bufflehead.  What a nice little hotspot - I really wish I didn't have to leave so quickly!
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Brown Thrasher, my first of the year
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Brown Thrasher
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Hermit Thrush
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Hermit Thrush - he saw me and off he goes!
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Brown Thrasher
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White-throated Sparrow
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Brown Creeper
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Brown Creeper
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Brown Creeper
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Brown Creeper
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Swamp Sparrow
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Swamp Sparrow
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Field Sparrow
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Field Sparrow
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Fox Sparrow
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Fox Sparrow
Reply from: tim on 4/14/2014 7:51 PM
 Awesome Sue what a great lunchtime outing !"
Reply from: Claire Talbot on 4/15/2014 7:32 AM
 I love the brown creepers. Have seen a few, but have not gotten a photograph yet this year. Thanks for sharing!"
Reply from: Sue on 4/18/2014 3:36 PM
 Thanks, Tim and Claire! And Claire, those Brown Creepers are another fast bird and tough to get a decent photo of. Keep trying! :)"


Golden Eagle Flyover and Fallout at Forest Lawn - Shorebirds at Kumpf

Published April 13, 2014
Tags: Life List Happenings, Golden Eagle, Fox Sparrow, Hermit Thrush, Eastern Phoebe, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Great Egret, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Pectoral Sandpiper

Saturday night's rain storm caused a little fallout of several species along the lake region.  I was very glad to see a male Pine Warbler and a couple of Chipping Sparrows visiting our feeders early in the morning. That was my first tip that something was up.  As soon as I got the chance, I went to Forest Lawn to see what I might find. I wasn't disappointed. 

I found a little pocket of Fox Sparrows, 11 of them, at one spot. Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets were busy and vocal and at least 4 Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers were in the area.  I also saw 1 Hermit Thrush, a Brown Creeper, an Easter Phoebe and then, as I was leaving, Alec Humann flagged me down to see my life bird of the day, a Golden Eagle!  Wow!!!  I didn't have time for a photo but Rick Bee got a good shot of it.  You can check that out on Rick's blog here: Birding Buffalo and Beyond. Amazing find; the seldom seen eagle in WNY was migrating right over Forest Lawn Cemetery!

After that exhilaration, I headed out to Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge to look for shorebirds.  It wasn't until late in the evening that I finally spotted some - just under 100 at Kumpf Marsh. Unfortunately, the lighting was low and they were at enough distance to where photos would have been pointless.  The large group contained Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs and at least 3 Pectoral Sandpipers.

The sky and trees were beginning to fill with the sights and sounds of moving blackbirds.  Rusty Blackbirds were in great numbers, which is always a good find.

In addition to the Pine Warbler, Greater Yellowlegs, and Pectoral Sandpipers, I saw a couple of other First of Year birds while hiking  and driving about: 2 Field Sparrows and a Great Egret flyover.  All in all, a great day!


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Pine Warbler
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The trees were beginning to fill with roosting Rusty Blackbirds, Cowbirds, Common Grackles, and European Starlings
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Fox Sparrow - one of 11 seen
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Fox Sparrow
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Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
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Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
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Ruby-crowned Kinglet
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RUby-crowned Kinglet
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Hermit Thrush
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Caspian Tern at Kumpf Marsh
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Red-tailed Hawk
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Northern Harrier
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Little Chippy
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Garter Snakes - my 4th sighting of them in 3 days!