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Amherst State Park - 2 Life Listers Plus One

Published September 19, 2012
Tags: Parks and Preserves, Winter Wren, Swainson's Thrush, Lincoln Sparrow, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Cooper's Hawk, Belted Kingfisher, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Amherst, NY

This morning started out cool but nice.  Fall was in the air.  I took my cup of coffee out onto the deck to enjoy the crisp morning, wearing my binoculars, of course! Out by the pumpkin patch, I noticed some movement on a pile of grass clippings. It was a lifer: an Ovenbird! I thought it was a Wood Thrush because one had finally shown up only yesterday and they're similar, barring size and the Ovenbird's orange cap.  Had I not looked up the Ovenbird just last night, I probably wouldn't have recognized him. What a CUTIE!

Did you know an Ovenbird is a ground walking warbler?  He gets his name from the peculiar nest he makes that looks like a Dutch Oven.  I tried to capture a photo, but he was gone by the time I came back outside with my camera. At least I got some wonderful looks through the binoculars... I'll post some photos of the Wood Thrush that came by yesterday, though.

With fall migration in full-swing, I've been trying to make a little more time for birding, so later today, I decided to venture back to Amherst State Park.  The park includes some nice paths along Ellicott Creek where I saw my first Belted Kingfisher.

My first half hour was pretty quiet, with hardly any sightings at all. I heard a Belted Kingfisher a few times, but never laid eyes on him.  My luck was soon to turn!

As I approached a little clearing, I saw a fellow birder up ahead, focusing his binoculars on something. I introduced myself and found out he was a member of the Genesee Bird List that I belong to - and I've even exchanged a few emails with this talented bird expert!  Sal spent a good hour and a half with me and from then on out, my birding experience for the day was enriched GREATLY!  He helped me locate two lifers: a Swainson's Thrush (3, actually!) and a Winter Wren (what a cutie!).  We also enjoyed watching some Yellow-rumped Warblers in the upper canopy and tried hard to get some Lincoln Sparrows to respond to his spishing. ASal was successful with the Lincolns just a short while before I got there but they probably weren't motivated any longer by the time we tried again. The Lincoln would have been a life list addition for me and ohhhh, he tried hard for me! I'll just have to keep on trying!  We also saw an Eastern Phoebe and a young male Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

Sal's list for the day was quite extensive and, in addition to the Lincoln Sparrows, it included quite a few warblers and a Cooper's Hawk, which I would have loved to have seen.  My list was much shorter and my photos almost nil, but I'm posting the couple I got of the Swainson's Thrush.

Thanks, Sal!
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Wood Thrush
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Wood Thrush
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Swainson's Thrush - and a lifer!
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Swainson's Thrush