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

Return to the Adirondacks

Published July 25, 2015
Tags: Life List Happenings, Spruce Grouse, Gray Jay, Spotted Sandpiper, Hermit Thrush, Northern Waterthrush, Palm Warbler, Boreal Chickadee, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.

I didn't get enough of the wonders of the Adirondacks when I was there almost a month ago - so... I organized a return trip with 3 good friends: Celeste, Holly, and Bernie.  What a great trip - what a successful trip - and what great company!  It couldn't have been better!

Our primary targets were the Boreal Chickadee and the Spruce Grouse.  The chickadee would be a life bird for Holly and Bernie and the grouse would be a life bird for Celeste, Holly, and me.  It took a LOT of effort, but in the very last hour of the very last day - we got BOTH birds PLUS a few bonuses!

One bonus was a few looks at Black-backed Woodpeckers.  Two pairs plus another individual were seen over the 3 days we were there. We flushed a Ruffed Grouse, which was startling, to say the least, and we had loads of fun feeding the Gray Jays.  We saw a Lincoln's Sparrow, a Northern Waterthrush, and many other warblers, including Canadas, Black-throated Blues and Greens, Blackburnians, Nashvilles, Chestnut-sided, Northern Parulas, Magnolias, and others that I'm probably forgetting.

Another bonus was that the Spruce Grouse we found, a female, had two young ones with her. One of the chicks came out into the road and we were able to photograph it. The hen was from Maine, we found out later, by the fact that she was tagged (#35) and equipped with a radio transmitter. Apparently, there's a DEC relocation program that is helping to reestablish the dwindling Spruce Grouse populations in the Adirondacks by relocating birds from Maine and last August, they brought in 30 birds. It was exciting to know that "our girl" survived the relocation, found a mate, and had young!  Hopefully, the program will be a great success. By the way, we were asked to keep the location of the grouse under wraps for a while and will honor that to help this effort succeed.

After all was said and done, we had birded very hard for 3 long days and covered a LOT of territory.  Life birds, state birds, and county birds were gotten by all and it was a very merry and celebratory drive home!

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Female Spruce Grouse - a life bird for 3 of us!
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You can see her radio transmitter and antenna in this shot.
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There's her tag: #35
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Spruce Grouse chick
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Spruce Grouse chick
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Spruce Grouse chick
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Mom and chick
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Boreal Chickadee
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Boreal Chickadee
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Boreal Chickadee
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Hermit Thrush
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Solitary Sandpiper
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Northern Waterthrush (terribly backlit)
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Newly fledged Golden-crowned Kinglet
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Cedar Waxwing on nest (good eye, Bernie!)
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Young Palm Warbler - one of MANY!
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Gray Jay
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A young Gray Jay lands on Bernie's hand
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Holly patiently enduring the screams of a Gray Jay looking for more raisins
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Bernie feeds a beautiful adult with fanned tail
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Gray Jay
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Gray Jay
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Gray Jay
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Yellow-bellied Sapsucker working the same tree we saw last year! There were hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies this time too! The birds were enjoying the insects that the sap was attracting.


Looking for Shorebirds

Published July 16, 2015
Tags: General Observations, Black Tern, Pileated Woodpecker, Great Crested Flycatcher, Alder Flycatcher, Willow Flycatcher, Barn Swallow, Grasshopper Sparrow, coyote

Celeste and I went out looking for shorebirds the other day and had some nice luck.  We found a White-rumped Sandpiper, the nicest bird of the day, along with some other nice finds:  Short-billed Dowitcher, many Least Sandpipers, 1 Semipalmated Sandpiper, Solitary and Spotted Sandpipers, Pectoral Sandpipers, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, and a couple of Semipalmated Plovers and several Killdeer.

Black Terns were many and it looked as if they had a successful breeding year.

On my way home, I found a Grasshopper Sparrow along the fence by the Akron Airport. He allowed a couple of photos too!

I also stopped at a field near home that I've never birded before.  I didn't see any Keep Out signs, so I wandered in and just poked around for about an hour.  The nicest find in there was a pair of Alder Flycatchers and a pair of Willow Flycatchers - only about a couple of hundred yards from one another, all identified by sound, of course!  A family of 3 Pileated Woodpeckers noisily flew across the field into a couple of trees.  They were busy there for about half an hour and made an equally noisy exit as they flew back the way they came towards a wooded area.  Cool!

On my way out, I came upon three young canines that I assumed to be Red Fox pups. I quickly grabbed a shot of the last one as they disappeared into the tall grasses. When I got home and saw the photo on my computer, I realized they were coyotes. I'm very glad I didn't encounter the adults who may have been protective of their young!
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Black Tern
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Young Black Tern with fresh catch
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Great Crested Flycatcher
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Barn Swallow at nest (poor lighting!)
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Grasshopper Sparrow
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Grasshopper Sparrow
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Willow Flycatcher
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Alder Flycatcher
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Pileated Woodpecker
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Coyote pup - 1 of 3


Back to Allegany County

Published July 12, 2015
Tags: General Observations, Broad-winged Hawk, Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Celeste and I birded in Allegany County again with Doug Beattie at the helm this time. Doug had a few good spots in mind to help us increase our county lists. We never got the Prairie Warbler we were hoping for, but we had nice views of a pair of Eastern Wood-Pewees and  a female Mourning Warbler - although we were camera-less at the time, wouldn't you know?!

Another great sight was of a Broad-winged Hawk that remained on its perch long enough for us to grab some nice photos.  A little later, I saw another Broad-winged high up on a branch sunning himself - or perhaps drying off after a bath.  His wings were spread out similar to how a cormorant or heron dries or cools off.  I never saw a raptor do that before.

Later in the day, I finished up on my own over at Hanging Bog and found a handsome male Scarlet Tanager who was carrying food for his young.  A male Rose-breasted Grosbeak and his young fledgling were not too far away from a family of Cedar Waxwings in the process of nest building.  There's lots of family activity everywhere these days!
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Broad-winged Hawk
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Broad-winged Hawk
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Scarlet Tanager
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Rose-breasted Grosbeak