Chirps and Cheeps

A Photo Journal of My Birding Adventures & Observations

My birding blog site


  August Birding

Published: November 01, 2016
Tags: General Observations, Killdeer, American Kestrel, Piping Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Black Vulture, Common Eider, Sanderling, Lesser Yellowlegs, American Bittern, White-breasted Nuthatch, Marsh Wren, Osprey, Green Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Black-backed Woodpecker, Boreal Chickadee, Gray Jay, Spruce Grouse

Right on schedule, more shorebirds flowed through the Western New York region during the month of August. A few rarities were included locally.  I came upon an adorable Piping Plover at Woodlawn Beach State Park mid-month.  Apparently, it had been 18 years since a Piping Plover was seen in Erie County, so that was a pretty exciting find.  Many birders came to see that little cutie, who graced us with a two day visit.

Piping Plover populations have been struggling for many years primarily due to habitat loss.  They need white sand beaches for nesting and rearing their young but beach space is becoming harder and harder to find where dune buggies, dogs, and people aren't threatening to trample the fragile little cotton balls and their chicks underfoot.

Conservation efforts have been established at key beach areas in the northeast where they cordon off sections to protect nesting plovers. One such beach, Wasaga Beach in Ontario, is where we found out my little guy had come from. My photos of the bands on his legs were identifiers that John Brett from Ontario was able to use to track down the details from. Thanks to Joe Fell for submitting the sighting to the ONTBIRDS Listserv by which we connected with John.  John informed us the plover was hatched in June and was one of nineteen successfully fledged Piping Plovers that year - the most in their efforts to date!

Just a couple of days before finding the Piping Plover, I noticed a Black Vulture being harassed by a few crows also at Woodlawn Beach.  Although there is a small population of Black Vultures in Lewiston, they are typically rare this far north, especially in Erie County.  That bird hung around at least a week and many birders were able to add it to their county list.

Another great find was a female Common Eider at the Erie Basin Marina.  Jackie Walters found the bird while out kayaking in the area during her work for the DEC.  This bird has been seen off and on since then - even recently as I'm writing this post in the beginning of November.

While birding through Forest Lawn one day towards the end of the month, I found an Olive-sided Flycatcher at the top of the ridge. I was pretty sure of the ID almost immediately, but I sent a photo of it to Alec Humann just to be sure.  Alec confirmed it was an Olive-sided - and, to the delight of many, that bird hung around for almost a week, which is very unusual!  Many were able to add that bird to their life list that week.

At the end of the month, my family and I took a vacation up to the Adirondacks again.  I did a lot of birding up there, probably more than I should have!  But I saw some great boreal birds:  Black-backed Woodpeckers, Boreal Chickadee, Gray Jay, and an awesome sighting of an adult male Spruce Grouse!

Photos of some of these sightings are below...

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Killdeer at Woodlawn

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A pair of American Kestrels at Woodlawn

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Green Heron at Tifft

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Record shot of the female Common Eider at the Erie Basin Marina

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American Bittern at Montezuma

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American Bittern

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White-breasted Nuthatch at Tifft

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Osprey at Woodlawn

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Marsh Wren at Tifft

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Red-shouldered Hawk at BWWTP

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Black Vulture at Woodlawn - rare in Erie County

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Semipalmated Sandpiper at Woodlawn

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Piping Plover

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Piping Plover

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Piping Plover

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Piping Plover's legs showing bands

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Semipalmated Sandpiper, Semipalmated Plover, Piping Plover

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Lesser Yellowlegs

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Sanderling at Woodlawn

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An injured Semipalmated Sandpiper at Woodlawn that stayed for a couple of weeks

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Immature Lesser Black-backed Gull

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Great comparison of an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull (left) standing with a Herring Gull (front middle) and Ring-billed Gulls. Note the size of the LBBG, the smudgy eye, and its yellow legs.

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More Sanderlings at Woodlawn

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Sanderling

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Olive-sided Flycatcher at Forest Lawn

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Boreal Chickadee - Adirondack Mountains

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Black-backed Woodpecker - Adirondack Mountains

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Gray Jay - Adirondack Mountains

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Spruce Grouse - Adirondack Mountains

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Spruce Grouse - Adirondack Mountains

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