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

Catching Up - Spring Warblers

Published May 31, 2015
Tags: General Observations, Hooded Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Blue-winged Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Palm Warbler

I have fallen so terribly behind on my blog! I am going to try to make a good stab at catching up on all the wonderful birds I've seen over this last month. This first post will feature some of the warblers that I caught during spring migration. And since I've gotten so far behind, I'll make it a little easier on myself and just post the photos with some descriptions, perhaps, in the captions. So - I'm sorry to be much less wordy, but I hope you enjoy the photos - even though they don't do these gorgeous jewels justice!
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One of the first warblers of the season, the Yellow-rumped Warbler. Seen at Forest Lawn at the end of April
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Palm Warbler, also seen at Forest Lawn
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Yellow Warbler seen at Batavia Wastewater Treatment Plant May 1st
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Yellow Warbler
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Northern Parula, Forest Lawn
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Another beautiful Northern Parula
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Black-throated Green Warbler
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Black-throated Green Warbler
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Black-and-white Warbler
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Black-throated Blue Warbler
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Cape May
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Nashville Warbler
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Yellow Warbler - they're so common but very beautiful!
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Magnolia Warbler
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Hooded Warbler - seen on Mother's Day while hiking with my son on Onondaga Trail
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Hooded Warbler
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Chestnut-sided Warbler
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Chestnut-sided Warbler
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Blue-winged Warbler
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Blue-winged Warbler
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Louisiana Waterthrush
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Louisiana Waterthrush
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Wilson's Warbler
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Black-throated Blue Warbler
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Blue-winged Warbler
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Blackburnian Warbler
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Blackburnian Warbler
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Blackburnian Warbler
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Prairie Warbler
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Prairie Warbler


Varied Thrush in NYS and a Barred Owl

Published April 25, 2015
Tags: General Observations, Varied Thrush, Barred Owl, Pine Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Hermit Thrush, Caspian Tern, Broad-winged Hawk

I chained myself to my desk this past Saturday, needing to complete a few work projects. It was a sunny day and it was killing me to stay in - but I must do what I must do!  Finally, after finishing up as much as I could do for the day, I decided I had enough daylight left to take a run for a reported Varied Thrush seen up near the Irondequoit Bay area.

The Varied Thrush is a beautiful bird that hails from the west coast. In this case, a female must have gotten blown off course and landed here in NYS!  I've only seen one before, also a female, and it was up in Guelph, Ontario last January (Western Double Hitter).

It only took a few minutes for the bird to show after my arrival, coming to the feeders and yards of a cute neighborhood area. The homeowner and finder of the bird, Candy, was most gracious, allowing people to come into her backyard. The thrush changed position quite often: it would feed at Candy's feeders, it would leave the yard entirely, reappear, and visit other neighboring yards.  It kept the seven or eight of us gathered birders on our toes the whole while. What terrific folks in this community - one woman even offered us lentil soup that she had made during our stakeout!

I was slightly disappointed that this Varied Thrush wasn't a male, but when I saw her, I was once again struck by how beautiful the female is. One day, I think I'll be really amazed when I finally do see a handsome male!

Yesterday, I birded hard with my friend, Gale, in Dunkirk. We walked miles through a great area with interesting habitats at the College Lodge SUNY.  Photos were few as the forest was dark and the birds were mostly high - but we had some great sightings: WARBLERS! We saw Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Yellow-rumped, Northern Waterthrush, and Pine Warblers. There were several Hermit Thrushes that came our way as well as both kinds of kinglets. At a nearby marsh, we heard both Sora and Virginia Rail. Altogether, including my stops at the harbor and beach, I had somewhere around 60 species for the day. I think I fell asleep somewhere around 8:30 that night!

After work on this rainy day, I decided to take a drive to see if I couldn't drum up some warbler sightings. Not surprising, I didn't find any warblers - well, maybe I heard a Pine Warbler in the background - under the din of some mobbing crows - but I quickly lost interest when I saw a large, light brown'ish bird fly through. Wow - a Barred Owl flew right into my view. It landed in a nearby tree and I watched as it lurched forward on its branch at one of the crows, keeping that crow at bay. After a little while, the crows left but the owl remained for yet a little while longer. Sweet!
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Varied Thrush
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Varied Thrush
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Varied Thrush
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Varied Thrush
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Varied Thrush
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Varied Thrush
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Banded Caspian Tern at the Dunkirk Harbor
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Caspian Tern
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Pine Warbler (very poor photo - sorry!)
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Yellow-rumped Warbler
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Hermit Thrush
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Broad-winged Hawk
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Barred Owl
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Barred Owl
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Barred Owl
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Barred Owl
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Barred Owl
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The harassed owl with one of the pesky crows on the left
Reply from: Candy Giles on 4/29/2015 9:40 PM
 Love your photos!! Today was the first day the varied thrush didn't show. Maybe she went back west:("
Reply from: Ann on 5/5/2015 9:19 AM
 Love the owl. Your pictures are always awesome!"


Neotropic Cormorant in Dunkirk!

Published April 23, 2015
Tags: Life List Happenings, Neotropic Cormorant, Double-crested Cormorant

An adult Neotropic Cormorant was spotted by Jim Pawlicki early this morning as it flew WSW along the 90 towards Lake Erie. Gale VerHague, an experienced birder and familiar with the area, followed her instincts and checked out Lake Erie State Park. Miraculously, Gale found the small cormorant as it flew, circling the beach area.

I hoped this would-be life bird would stick around for me as I raced down to the Dunkirk/Fredonia area. However, I arrived to an empty beach and, save some gulls, terns, and a handful of Double-crested Cormorants, not much else was around.  I was just debating on where to look next when Gale joined me, bless her heart! She already had an idea about where to start searching again, so we jumped in our cars and I followed her over to a private pond down Van Buren Road.

Scanning the 80 or so beautiful Double-crested Cormorants, the small Neotropic Cormorant quickly stood out in my scope! Gale's instincts were right on! We both enjoyed watching the little guy preen, fly around, and swim. We knew others were on their way and we nearly had heart attacks when the celebrity flew off twice. Each time, thankfully, it returned to the pond. Other birders soon began arriving and many got a life bird, or, at the very least, a state bird this day.  And who knows - maybe it will stick around for a little while - I think it's quite possible.

As its name suggests, this little guy was pretty far off-course.  The Neotropic Cormorant's upper range is Texas and is generally found in Central and South America. It usually sticks to fresh water lakes, ponds, and rivers and co-mingles with the beautiful Double-crested Cormorants at those locations. Its smaller size, longer tail, and white V-shaped chin patch easily distinguishes it from the Double-crested Cormorant.

I'm surprised this cold, gray, snowy day brought a life bird but - well.... you just never know!
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Neotropic Cormorant (on the right edge) sitting with Double-crested Cormorants
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Neotropic Cormorant flying past other DCCOs
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Neotropic Cormorant taking flight
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Neotropic Cormorant
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Neotropic Cormorant
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Neotropic Cormorant