07/09/10 – Ferncliff Forest & Hopeland Park Hike

New summer hours are in effect at work, which means no later than 2:00 pm on Fridays!  I figured that I will take the opportunity this summer to get out to places normally reserved for weekends on Fridays to see if I can photograph any new species of wildlife.  The result from todays experiment?  Positive!  Read on after the break.

My first stop was Ferncliff Forest in Rhinebeck.  It didn’t look too good out at first regarding the weather, but it held out long enough to look around from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm.  It was somewhat dark there, so no good photographs.  Highlights included a Scarlet Tanager, many American Redstarts, and even a Raccoon in a tree!  I didn’t manage to get any striking photos, but I will try to get back soon.

My second stop was Hopeland Park in Staatsburg from 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm.  I was hoping for better photos than Ferncliff, and my wish came true.  First bird I spotted and photographed was an Indigo Bunting, followed by a Prairie Warbler!  I didn’t think it could get better than that, but then I spotted a new bird for me, a Black-Billed Cuckoo (photograph at top)!  It never sang or called out and I happened to see it by accident.  I am one bird closer to my ‘100 bird species photographed’ goal (I think I am in the high 80s or low 90s).

I have combined my sighting list below (‘F’ for sighting at Ferncliff, ‘H’ for Hopeland):

  1. Red-Tailed Hawk (H)
  2. BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO (first sighting for me!) (H)
  3. Belted Kingfisher (F)
  4. Red-Bellied Woodpecker (F) (H)
  5. Downy Woodpecker (F)
  6. Northern Flicker (F)
  7. Pileated Woodpecker (F)
  8. American Crow (H)
  9. Tree Swallow (H)
  10. Black-Capped Chickadee (F) (H)
  11. White-Breasted Nuthatch (F)
  12. Wood Thrush (F)
  13. American Robin (F) (H)
  14. Gray Catbird (F) (H)
  15. Cedar Waxwing (F) (H)
  16. Prairie Warbler (H)
  17. American Redstart (F)
  18. Common Yellowthroat (H)
  19. Scarlet Tanager (F)
  20. Field Sparrow (F) (H)
  21. Song Sparrow (H)
  22. Northern Cardinal (F) (H)
  23. Indigo Bunting (H)
  24. Red-Winged Blackbird (F)
  25. American Goldfinch (F) (H)

Other Notables:

  1. Garter Snake
  2. White-Tailed Deer
  3. Raccoon
  4. Eastern Painted Turtle
  5. Red Admiral Butterfly
  6. Monarch Butterfly
  7. Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly
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