Migration Vacation is Over… What’s the Verdict?

Osprey at Long Beach, Stratford, CT

Osprey at Long Beach, Stratford, CT

I know I don’t post nearly as often anymore, but between home improvements and added work hours, the site has had to take a back seat.  That doesn’t mean that I slouched on the peak of migration though!  In fact, quite the opposite!

Normally, I would only take two to three days off every year in the middle of May.  That was usually more than enough time to capture a ton of activity.  This year, I took the whole week off!  Not only that, I got outside everyday for NINE days in a row of photography!  We also had a spectacular wedding that we went to in Rhode Island, so I did some bird watching there too.  To cap off the trip we stopped at a few spots in Connecticut to round out the adventure.  I’m tired just thinking about it again.

So, you already know that I hit 200 birds last week… but the new question is, how many do you think I have now?

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New Bird Photographed – Which Can Mean Only One Thing…

… I’ve Hit 200 Species!!!

Canada Warbler (male)

Canada Warbler (male)

Today at Vassar Farm, mother nature put on one hell of a show.  It will be one to remember, not only for the new addition to my life list, but for the 86 total species seen for the day.  My 200th species is a Canada Warbler, and they certainly made me work for the shots.

I actually ran into a female canada warbler first, but harsh light and branches in the foreground made it difficult to lock on to my subject automatically.  I had to switch to manual focus, and after many failed attempts, I got a somewhat successful result:

Canada Warbler (female)

Canada Warbler (female)

I would have been completely content with that too, but I got two more run-ins with this new species throughout the day…

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199… and a Half?

Lawrence's Warbler

Lawrence’s Warbler

According to the website, eBird, I had seen 198 species in my life.  I thought I would see if I could get to 200 before the end of the week since migration is in full swing.  Shouldn’t be too hard, right?

Well, I got #199 in New Jersey, a pair of Monk Parakeets.  I didn’t have a camera with me to photograph them, but it still counts in the grand scheme of things.  I would like to get back to that location though and get some photos down the road.

Today, at Buttercup Farm Sanctuary in Stanfordville, New York.  I thought I got #200 with this Lawrence’s Warbler, but it turns out that it doesn’t count as a species.  You see, blue-winged warblers and golden-winged warblers breeding grounds overlap in some areas, which creates ‘hybrids’.  This is one such hybrid.

Seeing that I’ve never seen a golden-winged warbler before, I feel it should count as a half a new bird. :P

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May Migration Madness Begins! (Plus Other Updates)

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler

It’s been a while since I last posted on here.  We have been undergoing some very costly home repairs… some of which we are doing ourselves while other parts we had to hire someone.  It has taken away a ton of my photography time and has become my top priority to finish.

To complicate things more, with Windows XP no longer being supported, my laptop needs to be upgraded.  I can’t do that with the spending going into the house, so I am a little gimped at the moment with posting here.

There is some good news though… Spring is finally here!  Our colorful feathered friends make their way through our area, and I have set some time aside to try my best and capture as much as possible.  It might just take a little longer to get everything together to post.

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New Bird Photographed – Canvasback

Canvasback

Canvasback

So, the fieldscope/iPhone combination really came in handy at Piermont Pier on Saturday!

In the distance, I could see Canvasbacks sleeping on the Hudson River.  It was the first time I’ve ever seen one!  I had to have waited nearly an hour before one of them woke up and stretched his wings before getting comfortable again.

Wait an hour for a moment that only lasted a few seconds… the life of a birder, huh? :P This would be bird species #197 that I’ve seen in my lifetime.

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Photos from Hammonasset Beach State Park – March 2014

Snow Bunting

Snow Bunting

Earlier in the month, we drove out to Hammonasset Beach State Park for a little bird watching.  I’ve really gotten attached to going to the beach-like areas in Connecticut to compliment my woodland adventures of the Hudson Valley.

We joined another fellow photographer at the park, Stephen Ippolito, for our wildlife adventure.  The best moment of the day was a pair of Great Horned Owls hunkered down in the trees.  They were hidden incredibly well, so they are the best of photos.  Sometimes the moment is more important than the photo though.

We also got to see a lone snow bunting mixed in with a flock of horned larks in the parking lot of the nature center.  Out on the ocean was a great mix of waterfowl and even a few loons!  Hope you enjoy the latest gallery!

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Random Ulster County Shots (and a Dutchess too!)

Fish Crow

Fish Crow

With the snow melting and refreezing, it’s become very treacherous to be a hiker.  Even two weeks ago, I nearly took a spill on several occasions carrying my equipment.  To me, its not worth potentially breaking my equipment, or myself for that matter.  That doesn’t mean I’m done sharing photos though!

After checking out the incredibly cool Sandhill Cranes in Ulster Park, I also stopped at Kingston Point Park.  My hope was to find some open water for interesting ducks, but other than a few common mergansers in a small spot, no other ducks were seen.

It wasn’t all a bust though at the park, as we got to watch a merlin outmaneuver several crows. The merlin landed very briefly before getting harassed some more, but I was able to snap a shot before the chase began again.

I also stopped briefly at Norrie Point to see 8 total juvenile bald eagles.  The overcast day made it impossible to get good looking shots, but the action alone is worth posting a shot.

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