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

May Birding

Published October 28, 2016
Tags: General Observations, Brant, American Avocet, Willet, Golden-winged Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, Yellow-throated Vireo, Eastern Whip-poor-will, Summer Tanager, Western Tanager, Mississippi Kite, Common Nighthawk, Whimbrel, Ruddy Turnstone, Eared Grebe, Cerulean Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Blue-winged Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, Cape May Warbler, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Clay-colored Sparrow, Black-billed Cuckoo, Red-headed Woodpecker, Least Flycatcher

The month of May started out with some great rarities. A stop at the Batavia Wastewater Treatment Plant brought a few surprises: Brant (first noticed by Greg Lawrence), 7 Willet, and both a Forster's Tern and Black Tern.  More Willet and Brant were reported throughout the day - plus a couple of American Avocets were found in Canandaigua.  There were fallouts all over the region!

The rest of the month brought the beautiful warblers that we all look so forward to in Western New York. I got to see a male Cerulean Warbler practically in my own back yard! Between those little jewels and a few more rarities, the month was one of the best birding months I think I've enjoyed so far.

Some of the rarities I got to see included: a Harris's Sparrow in Kendall, a Golden-winged Warbler found by Matt Nusstein at Forest Lawn, a Worm-eating Warbler that Alec Humann and I found at Forest Lawn, a Yellow-throated Warbler I refound at Forest Lawn, an Eastern Whip-poor-will found by Garner Light and Nate Johnson at Forest Lawn, a Summer Tanager down in Chautauqua County, a Gray Kingbird found by Greg Lawrence, a Western Tanager found by Alan Baczkiewicz, a dozen Whimbrel at Canandaigua, and a Mississippi Kite up in Port Colbourne, Ontario.  The kite and kingbird were both life birds!

The Common Nighthawk became a yard bird towards the end of the month as I discovered from a post by Mike Zebehazy that they were flying over Orchard Park for a few nights.  Sure enough, another stakeout on my deck proved fruitful - I had six fly over one night!

May is certainly a magical month here in Western New York and below are some of those magical moments captured as best as I was able...
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Brant at the Batavia Wastewater Treatment Plant
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Willet at the Canandaigua City Pier
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American Avocets at the Canandaigua City Pier
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Yellow-throated Vireo
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Cerulean Warbler
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Black-throated Green Warbler
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Eastern Whip-poor-will
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Western Tanager
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Blue-winged Warbler
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Blackburnian Warbler
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Golden-winged Warbler
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Orange-crowned Warbler
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Worm-eating Warbler
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A terrible shot of the elusive Yellow-throated Warbler Peter Yoerg found at Forest Lawn. This was taken later that same night in light rain and just about dark. He was very high up in a tree with some other warblers; I can't believe I refound the guy in those conditions!
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Cape May Warbler
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Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
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Black-throated Blue Warbler
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Summer Tanager in Chautauqua
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Ruddy Turnstone
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Clay-colored Sparrow
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Mississippi Kite in Port Colbourne
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Mississippi Kite in Port Colbourne
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Whimbrel in Canandaigua
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Black-billed Cuckoo at Tifft
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Common Nighthawk as seen from my deck
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Common Nighthawks - a new yard bird!
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Red-headed Woodpecker
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Red-headed Woodpeckers mating
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Eared Grebe at BWWTP
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Least Flycatcher at Forest Lawn


April Birding

Published October 24, 2016
Tags: General Observations, warblers, hawks, raptors, kinglets, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Yellow Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Palm Warbler, Eastern Towhee, Loggerhead Shrike, Broad-winged Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Common Loon, Purple Finch, Brown Creeper, Winter Wren, Eastern Phoebe, Swamp Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Carolina Wren, Sora, Virginia Rail, Pine Siskin, Northern Mockingbird, Spotted Sandpiper, Red-winged Blackbird, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Northern Waterthrush

The month of April brought many of the long-awaited migrants everyone in WNY was hoping for!  We had a Fox Sparrow at our feeders for more than half the month.  He seemed content to hang out at our feeders for over two weeks.  On a couple of occasions, he was joined by another Fox Sparrow - but otherwise, he shared the feeders with our regulars.

As the month went on, I was happy to see the return of flycatchers, kinglets, creepers, sparrows, wrens, towhees, mockingbirds, the first warblers, sandpipers, Broad-winged Hawks, and so much more.  What fun!

This month was also very extraordinary in that Common Loons were being seen everywhere - at all kinds of lakes and ponds - large and small - city and rural.  It was a very unusual phenomenon and I don't know if anyone still knows the answer as to why the loons were dropping out of the sky to visit Western New York.  One very foggy morning down in Cattaraugus County, I had five on a small lake calling their mournful song.  It was like I was in another world and I really wish I could have captured the experience.

A Loggerhead Shrike was found in Ontario County and I made the drive to see that neat find.  It was a NYS bird for me and was well worth the drive!

One day late in the month, when the winds seemed to be just right, I conducted my own hawk watch out on my deck. I had many raptors and birds fly overhead: from Canada Geese and Turkey Vultures - to Osprey, Cooper's Hawks, Red-taileds, and a count of 13 Broad-winged Hawks for the couple of hours while I was out there.  Some birds came in quite low and I got some pretty awesome views.  I will have to remember to do this again next spring!
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Eastern Phoebe
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Brown Creeper
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A singing Swamp Sparrow
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Golden-crowned Kinglet
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Purple Finch
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Pine Siskins continued into April
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Fox Sparrow on a snowy day
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An Eastern Towhee stopped by the yard
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Vesper Sparrow - one of many in the Dunkirk area
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Carolina Wren close to home
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My first warbler of the season, a Yellow-rumped
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Winter Wren
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A Sora hiding in the reeds...
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...and a Virginia Rail hiding in the reeds too!
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Northern Mockingbird
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Common Loon
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Broad-winged Hawk at my own hawk watch
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Spotted Sandpiper
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Red-winged Blackbird
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Louisiana Waterthrush
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Yellow-rumped Warbler
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Palm Warbler
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Ruby-crowned Kinglet
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Loggerhead Shrike
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Black-and-white Warbler
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Northern Waterthrush
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White-crowned Sparrow
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Yellow Warbler
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Cooper's Hawk at my own hawk watch
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Pileated Woodpecker


March Birding

Published October 21, 2016
Tags: General Observations, Killdeer, Northern Shoveler, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Purple Finch, Brown Creeper, Bullock's Oriole, Tufted Duck, Pine Siskin, Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Meadowlark, Northern Harrier, Golden Eagle, Red-shouldered Hawk, Rusty Blackbird, Swamp Sparrow, American Robin, Glossy Ibis, Great Horned Owl, leucism, leucistic

Some of the birding I did this month was driven by a huge "NEED" to see some new birds returning to Western New York!  Here, in chilly Buffalo, it winter starts feeling very, very long by March and this year was no different.  I found myself wandering around to areas that might hold a surprise or two, including Lakeside Cemetery in Hamburg, New York.  I even went as far as Canandaigua Lake with Celeste and Willie to do some Ontario and Yates County birding while we searched for and found the Tufted Duck that Brooke Morse reported.  This was the second Tufted Duck I've ever seen, by the way, and this time it was a handsome male with a full, beautiful tuft!

Friends and I even drove to Ulster, New York to see a wildly vagrant Bullock's Oriole - a life bird and a bird I never thought I'd see this far east!  And what a beautiful male to boot!

I did have a short a reprieve from our Buffalo, NY weather this month.  Myself, Celeste, and two other friends (Bernie and Karen) went to Arizona to stay with our friend, Holly, for five days. What a great adventure that was!  I think I'll post those photos in a separate entry.

The last half of the month, after our Arizona trip, was rewarding at a hawk watch where a Golden Eagle flew over.  Two Glossy Ibises weren't all that far away so I stopped to see them on the way.  A Great Horned Owl on nest at a heron rookery took the prize for bizarre sights that day, though! 

I also did some birding around home where I found a few unexpected county birds, which included a Northern Harrier and Vesper Sparrow.  Oh, and Pine Siskins finally showed up near the end of the month!  After waiting all winter, they showed up on March 20th!
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Close to home - my first Killdeer sighting of the year!
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A Northern Shoveler at Lakeside Cemeter
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Red-breasted Nuthatch at home
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A Brown Creeper at home - a sure sign of spring!
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Bullock's Oriole - far from home!
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Bullock's Oriole - male
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Tufted Duck - a nice look at that handsome tuft!
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Finally - a Pine Siskin!
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Another harbinger of spring, a Red-winged Blackbird
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Purple Finches return!
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An Eastern Meadowlark right near home
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A Northern Harrier hunting right near home - same field that the meadowlarks were in.
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There were a few Rusty Blackbirds in East Aurora this day
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The Swamp Sparrows are back!
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A leucistic American Robin in Orchard Park
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These two Glossy Ibises were a treat!
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Golden Eagle
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Red-shouldered Hawk
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Here's the Great Horned Owl on nest in a heron rookery of all places!
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Tree Swallows are back!