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

Early Bird Tiffting and an Eastern Towhee

Published April 10, 2015
Tags: General Observations, Eastern Towhee, Brown Creeper, White-breasted Nuthatch, Black-capped Chickadee, Pied-billed Grebe, American Kestrel, Eastern Phoebe, Song Sparrow, Eastern Cottontail, Chipping Sparrow

I did a quick tour of Tifft Nature Preserve the other afternoon looking for early migrants.  I didn't find anything too unusual, but I did enjoy seeing three Eastern Phoebes and four Brown Creepers.  Song Sparrows were everywhere and they filled the nature preserve with their beautiful songs.

Back at home, I found our first Chipping Sparrow of the year at the feeders.  And then, the very next morning, an Eastern Towhee showed up - a first-of-the-year for that guy too!  I heard him well before I could find him.  Sometimes he yelled out his single note call and then other times, I heard his "drink your teeeeeaaa" call.  When I could focus on work no more, I went in pursuit of the little guy.  I found him singing as he perched on top of an evergreen tree.  That was a real treat and a sure sign that migration is underway!
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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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Eastern Phoebe
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Eastern Phoebe
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Song Sparrow
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Black-capped Chickadee
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White-breasted Nuthatch
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Eastern Cottontail at Tifft
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Back home: Chipping Sparrow's first visit to the feeders this year
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Back home: an Eastern Towhee's first visit of the year
Reply from: Larry on 4/16/2015 5:19 PM
 Nice collection of birdy photos.Great job getting the Brown Creeper. They are hard to catch because they blend in with the bark."


From Dunkirk to Hamlin

Published April 06, 2015
Tags: General Observations, Long-billed Dowitcher, Vesper Sparrow, American Kestrel, Eastern Bluebird, Belted Kingfisher, Osprey, Tree Swallow

While checking out some of the hotspots in Dunkirk, I came upon some Vesper Sparrows in a farm field just before Berry Rd. Marsh.  I was not all that surprised to see them as Gale had reported seeing one over near King Road in Sheridan and I had heard one was found at Forest Lawn Cemetery a day earlier. They must be on the move this week.

Killdeer were also out in the fields and there was a pair of American Kestrels sitting next to one another nearby.

At the marsh, it was nice watching another two couples: a pair of Eastern Bluebirds and a pair of Belted Kingfishers.  Love is in the air!

In addition to a few Tree Swallows flitting about, I enjoyed watching kettles of Turkey Vultures that were taking advantage of the warm thermals.  Every now and then, mixed-in with the vultures, I found some other goodies: 1 Osprey, 3 Red-tailed Hawks, and 1 Red-shouldered Hawk.

A little later, I decided to try for the Long-billed Dowitchers that were found up in Hamlin.  It would be a long drive, but it was such a beautiful day, I thought I'd enjoy making the trip.  To my surprise, the dowitchers were still there.  I took a few photos of the pair, but the lighting was so harsh, even with some post processing, the photos didn't turn out well enough to do the pair of shorebirds justice.  They were beautiful, though.

Driving back home, I encountered so many kestrels, I began to count them.  I was up to 24 by the time I got off the parkway.  Amazing!  They must have had a good migration flight that day!  And this same phenomenon happened last year right about this exact, same week.  I saw pairs of them perched in trees, singles perched on signs - they were all over!  Being that they are one of my top 3 favorite birds, I was thrilled to see so many!
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Vesper Sparrow
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Vesper Sparrow
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Eastern Bluebird (male)
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Tree Swallow
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Belted Kingfisher
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Distant, cropped Osprey in one of the kettles of Turkey Vultures
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Eastern Phoebe - it's so nice to see them back!
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Another phoebe seen along the way
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Long-billed Dowitchers in Hamlin
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Long-billed Dowitcher
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One of the MANY American Kestrels seen along the way
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American Kestrel
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A pair of kestrels


Another Hawk Watch

Published April 02, 2015
Tags: General Observations, Northern Harrier, Bald Eagle, Golden Eagle, Red-shouldered Hawk, Osprey, Rough-legged Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk

The weather report looked good for the hawk watch this past Thursday, so five of us headed up to Mexico, New York to the Derby Hill Hawk Watch. The long ride proved worth every moment as migrants were already in full movement by the time we arrived. The day started out cool but sunny - with lots of blackbirds streaming by. The mutitude of Red-winged Blackbirds and Common Grackles were accompanied by a few Eastern Phoebes, Eastern Meadowlarks, and quite a few Tree Swallows. The phoebes and swallows were the first of year sightings for me.

Mixed in with thousands of Turkey Vultures, we saw many other raptors, including Red-tailed Hawks, Red-shouldered Hawks, Rough-legged (with one dark morph), one Golden Eagle, a few immature Bald Eagles, a first of year Osprey, and many Sharp-shinned and Cooper's hawks. It was a great day to be out as the sun stayed out and the temps rose to almost 60 degrees.  There was quite a crowd gathered and it was nice catching up with old friends and meeting some new ones.

Thanks once again to Dave for a GREAT flight day that his predictions were right on for again!
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Northern Harrier (male, aka the Gray Ghost)
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Northern Harrier
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Northern Harrier
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Northern Harrier
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Osprey
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Red-shouldered Hawk
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Red-shouldered Hawk
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Red-shouldered Hawk
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Rough-legged Hawk
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Rough-legged Hawk
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Rough-legged Hawk
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Rough-legged Hawk
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Migrating American Kestrel
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American Kestrel
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Merlin (with a full crop)
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3rd year Bald Eagle
Reply from: Logan on 4/5/2015 8:53 AM
 Is your tenth picture supposed to be labled Rough-legged Hawk?"
Reply from: Sue on 4/5/2015 4:38 PM
 Thanks very much, Logan - you were 100% correct and I have the label changed now. Thank you!"