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

Sue's Bird Blog Archives

Some Summer Stops

Published July 06, 2014
Tags: General Observations, Alder Flycatcher, Willow Flycatcher, Least Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Eastern Phoebe, Common Tern, Caspian Tern, Green Heron, Great Blue Heron, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper, Purple Martin, Bank Swallow, Baltimore Oriole, Yellow Warbler

Traveling out across a few counties this past week, I didn't see anything more unusual than some nesting birds, cute, little fledglings, and our our typical summer residents. But it wasn't boring - everyone was very busy housekeeping, making for some great birding!

In Seneca Falls, NY, Celeste Morien and I saw nesting Barn Swallows. The parents were a flurry of activity, gracefully flying in and out to the mud nests they plastered to the inside eaves of the sheds and barns. Little ones were poking their heads out these nests begging for their next meal. It was quite a sight!

Flycatchers seem to be busy earning their name all over, in every county. Willow, Alder, Acadian, Least, Great-crested, Eastern-wood Pewee, Eastern Kingbirds, Eastern Phoebes - all are out calling their special calls, and all are diligently keeping the fly and mosquito populations under control for us!

At Tillman WMA, Pat Martin and I saw a very agitated Spotted Sandpiper and Killdeer. We thought we might be close to their nests, so we cautiously picked our way beyond their "circle of defense" and left, never seeing or finding eggs or little ones.  We enjoyed the Upland Sandpipers, Grasshopper Sparrows, and Savannah Sparrows further out.

At Presque Isle, Gale Verhague and I saw a newly fledged Yellow Warbler, which was a nice treat. The dad was nearby bringing worms to the insistent little one. A male Baltimore Oriole also gave us some nice views - and we saw that there was another oriole nearby. We never got a close look at it, but our best guess is that it was a fledgling too, as the male didn't seem to want to leave its side.

Common Terns were nesting at one beach - females were sitting on nests with their attentive males perched nearby. One of the male terns had his "hands full" trying to keep predators away. He was furiously dive-bombing a Great Blue Heron a couple times - and won!

The terns were being guarded by a volunteer whose main job was to keep the public out of the roped-off areas and away from their nests. As he eyed our cameras, he apologized but told us that photographers were the worst offenders. We assured him we were nature lovers first - photographers second - and that we both had a great respect for nesting birds. This nest event is very exciting to the birders of Erie, PA because it's the first time in a number of years that they've attempted to breed here. I was glad to see the park was trying very hard to help them be successful. Some jet skiers were actually asked to leave the area as they were apparently enjoying noisily speeding up to the shore where the birds were resting, flushing them. I was glad to see some water patrolling being done in addition to our land volunteer.

We also saw three baby Killdeer out on the beach, making for long distance but super cute views through our binoculars. A few Least Sandpipers and a single Lesser Yellowlegs were also out on the shore and the sky buzzed with Osprey, gulls, Bank Swallows, and Purple Martins. It was a busy place with lots to watch.

It was at Tillman WMA that I saw my first Monarch of the season. My second was yesterday at Presque Isle.  At each spot, I was only certain of exactly ONE Monarch, which is a very sad number compared to previous years. There was plenty of milkweed in both locations, which I was glad to see - but no caterpillars nor adult butterflies.

Back home, I'm enjoying the young Black-capped Chickadees, Chipping Sparrows, Titmice, finches, the very awkward looking, and recently fledged Northern Cardinals, many young woodpeckers: Red-bellieds, Downies and Hairies - and a new species that's coming to the feeders - a young Common Grackle and its father.  The young are all begging and the parents are all devotedly stuffing food into their hungry and demanding mouths. I think the young Hairy Woodpecker is, by far, the noisiest of them all!

Yesterday, Gale and I compared notes on an unusual phenomenon we're both  seeing at our home feeders: adult Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are coming for grape jelly and flying off with it. It appears they're taking it to their young - but why?  Do young grosbeaks like grape jelly too?  We didn't know that one!

On a side note: Metis Learning, a software development company, is soon to release a visual identification learning application for birders.  They featured some of my photos this past week on their Facebook page. That was neat!  I'm eagerly waiting to see how this new learning tool will help with my bird ID skills. Check out their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/metisbirding/timeline or their website at: http://metisllc.com/birding/. If you go to their Facebook page, be sure to look for my photos!
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Begging Barn Swallow babies
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Adult Barn Swallow coming in to feed the hungry mouths!
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Poor shot in low light of a male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker at Chestnut Ridge. He and "the missus" were busily tapping the tree for sap.
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Cooper's Hawk carrying prey - it looks like an Eastern Red Squirrel to me...
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I never heard this one "sing" - so Willow/Alder Trails will have to do!
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Willow Flycatcher - "Fitz Bew!"
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Grasshopper Sparrow
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Savannah Sparrow
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Spotted Sandpiper
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Green Heron
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Yellow Warbler fledgling
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Cedar Waxwing
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Baltimore Oriole (male)
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Common Tern "encouraging" this Great Blue Heron to leave his nest area
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Purple Martin
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Bank Swallow
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Female Rose-breasted Grosbeak getting some grape jelly. She always leaves with a beak full!
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Black Swallowtail (male)
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I believe a Banded Meadowhawk
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Male Eastern Pondhawk
Reply from: Metis Birding on 7/7/2014 11:16 PM
 Great photos Sue! Barn Swallows are some of my favorite birds. I love watching them catch insects mid-flight! Thanks for the shout-out in your post. Keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for updates about our software :)