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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An Amazing Week

Published October 17, 2013
Tags: Life List Happenings, Pacific Loon, Long-billed Dowitcher, Wilson's Snipe, Greater White-fronted Goose, Lapland Longspur, Common Raven, Greater Yellowlegs

It's been a little more "birdy" than usual these past few days. I've gotten a life bird each day, Monday through today, and it's been "crazy easy" for some reason. I should have split this post into pieces, so I'll try to briefly recount the week:

On Monday, Doug Happ and I drove down to Java, NY where ravens have been seen near Beaver Meadow Audubon Center. When we pulled up to the pond near the center, we were talking about the way the Common Raven flies - sails and soars - as opposed to the "swimming" and flapping of a crow's flight. My eyes caught sight of a larger, black bird in the sky - soaring and sailing in the sunny sky - and I said, "like that?!" - sure enough, we both jumped out of the car, grabbing binoculars, and postively ID'd the bird as a Common Raven. Thank you, Doug!

On Tuesday, after doing some lake watching with Willie D'Anna, Willie took me to a nearby farm where he had found some Lapland Longspurs the day before.  After a few minutes of looking through the Horned Larks, American Pipits, and Savannah Sparrows, we heard the unmistakable sound of a Lapland Longspur. We found a few more after that and enjoyed their sporadic and fleeting views. Thank you, Willie!

Late Wednesday afternoon, I met Celeste Morien in Medina, NY to see if the Greater White-fronted Goose Bill Watson had found a couple of days earlier was still present a little further north in Lyndonville.  Sure enough, Celeste got eyes on it within just minutes after our arrival. We had nice, close  views and I was able to see the black bars on the sides that come across the underparts. Thank you, Celeste!

Very early Thursday morning, I took a drive out to LaSalle Landing Park in Irondequoit to see if I could find the reported Long-billed Dowitcher. I no sooner pulled up when another birder, Jim, got my scope right on the dowitcher who was foraging right out in the bay. I had beautiful scope views of this hard-to-find bird (at least for me!) while I watched its sewing machine-like use of its bill as it fed. Thank you, Jim! And thank you, Kim Harquist for your email assistance for this bird!

At the same location, I had a really close view of a Wilson's Snipe. I came out by the water via a muddy, muddy path through the reeds - and while I was standing, hoping to get a closer view of the dowitcher, a snipe walked right across the open expanse in front of me.  It looked at me, went over to the side and kept feeding just through the reeds. Looking through the photos, I see how similar this bird is to the American Woodcock which frequents woodlands and forest thickets and is more active in the wee hours of the morning or dusk. The habitats and behavior of these two species are quite different, but their appearance is very similar.  Many new birders can easily mix these 2 species up!

Since I was out in the Rochester area, I stopped by the plaza to see the Monk Parakeets again. They're still there and defending their nest on the radio tower against hordes of starlings.

Lastly, today, while birding with Willie D'Anna and Betsy Potter (and Celeste who unfortunately had to leave earlier), a Pacific Loon flew by giving us fairly close and prolonged scope views. Betsy had found this "interesting" bird and the very close scrutiny by Willie revealed it to be a Pacific Loon!  This is quite a find for WNY!  Thank you, Betsy!

I stopped by Ring-necked Marsh on my way home and may have found an Oregon Junco in with a small flock of 8 or so Slate-colored Dark-eyed Juncos. I've never seen this subspecies before, so it was pretty exciting, even though the photos of the little guy weren't very good...

BIG CONGRATULATIONS to Willie D'Anna for breaking the BOS record today by getting a Brant and then by upping his total yet by one more with the awesome find of the Pacific Loon. As of today, Willie has now seen 285 birds in one year in the BOS territory - two more than the previous record!  We should have taken a bottle of champagne along this morning!

What a week!
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Wilson's Snipe
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Wilson's Snipe
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Wilson's Snipe
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Wilson's Snipe
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Long-billed Dowitcher
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Long-billed Dowitcher
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Greater Yellowlegs (left) and Pectoral Sandpiper
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Greater Yellowlegs
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Swamp Sparrow
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Monk Parakeet fending off starlings
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Monk Parakeet at its nest
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Monk Parakeet at its nest
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Sandhill Cranes
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Sandhill Cranes
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Greater White-fronted Goose
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Greater White-fronted Goose
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A Lapland Longspur, I THINK
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Lapland Longspur
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Horned Lark
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Horned Lark
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Maybe an Oregon Junco
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Oregon Junco?