My Bird Blog: A blog about my birding discoveries, bird feeders, birds on my life lists, and all things bird related

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Cerulean Warbler, Acadian Flycatcher, Common Gallinule at INWR

Published July 03, 2013
Tags: Life List Happenings, Cerulean Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, American Redstart, Hooded Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Ovenbird, Veery, Wood Thrush, Acadian Flycatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Alder Flycatcher, Willow Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Kingbird, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Common Gallinule, Pied-billed Grebe

A hot, muggy, and BUGGY morning at Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge brought 3 life bird additions to my list and at least a dozen mosquito bites: I have 6 new bites on my left hand alone and I'm pretty sure some of my bites have bites!

Pat Martin and I met early at the refuge, covered ourselves with bug spray, and ventured into the insect-infested woods along Onondaga Trail. Before we got to the pond, we picked out the songs of an Ovenbird, a Hooded Warbler, a Veery, and an Eastern Wood-pewee. We thought the pond must be "home" to a family of at least 4 Great Crested Flycatchers.

Deeper in the woods, we heard the song of a Wood Thrush and at least a couple more Veerys. I've got the harmonic sound of the Veery down, but the single syllable call, "Veer", still catches me up almost every time!  We had some nice sightings of 2 of the Veerys too.

Pat had just remarked that she thought she heard an Acadian Flycatcher - when sure enough, we spotted it just a little up ahead. It called a couple of times as if to give us confirmation on our ID, moved further down the path, and then left.  Wow.  That was one of our targeted, hope-to-find birds for the day and was just given to us all wrapped up with a bow!

After we reached the end of the trail and agreeing we had fed enough mosquitos, we turned around to head back. But Pat's skillful ears picked the sound of a Black-throated Green Warbler though - and so we fed a few more bugs while we quickly found and enjoyed the warbler.

Next came a much bigger challenge: the Cerulean Warbler. This was also a bird we had hoped to find and Pat picked up its song shortly after the Black-throated Green.  We tried to lay eyes on that bird but we couldn't find it for anything. Pat volunteers her time on the Purple Martin project and had to get going, so I decided to offer myself to the bugs as a sacrifice and stay and try to get the Cerulean. Several mosquito bites later, I found it! I actually thought the warbler was a vireo at first. I couldn't find the characteristic bar across its chest but I think it was the lighting, a branch, an angle, or something, because when it flew off, the Cerulean Warbler song stopped too.  I headed back to the trail to continue my exit, when I heard the unmistakeable song again. This time, I saw it fully - bar and all!  The only thing I missed was getting a nice view of the beautiful blue coloring of the cerulean (for which it's named).  The dark forest and the bird's position directly overhead gave it a more grayish look.  I sure hope to see some closer views of this gorgeous bird again one day!

I'm much more verbose here today and I apologize!  But quickly, my last life bird was gotten over at Kumpf Marsh where I had hoped to see a Least Bittern or Black Tern.  No luck on either of those birds, but way out in the water, a Common Gallinule was swimming near some American Coots and Pied-billed Grebes. I recognized it right away by its distinctive red bill. The poor photos I got later confirmed it.

All in all, it was a great morning with 8 warblers, several flycatchers, and 3 life birds. I'm very glad to be home, though - showered, cool, and cursing and nursing my bites!
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Marsh Wren
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Marsh Wren
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Eastern Kingbird
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Eastern Kingbird
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Alder Flycatcher (identified by sound)
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Acadian Flycatcher, my first life bird of the day
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Great Crested Flycatcher
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Great Crested Flycatcher
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Great Crested Flycatcher
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Great Crested Flycatcher
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American Redstart (male)
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American Redstart (male)
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Belted Kingfisher
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Great Blue Heron
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Great Egret
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Pied-billed Grebe
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Common Gallinule (my third life bird of the day)
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Green Frog