12/11/10 – Stony Kill, Wappinger Lake, Locust Grove Hike

On Saturday from 8:00 am – 3:00 pm, I was out and about exploring various locations in Dutchess County.  I stopped at Stony Kill Farm first, followed by a quick visit to Wappinger Lake with my day ending at Locust Grove.

Today brought me a new bird to photograph, a Bald Eagle, a first for me in Dutchess County!  He was spotted at Wappinger Lake around noon, and only stuck around for about 15 seconds.  For the full sighting list and observation notes from the day, read on.

Observations/Notes

The last few weekends I’ve been seeing a red-tailed hawk right around the corner from where I live.  Today was no different.  I found him perched in a nearby tree all buffed out from the cold.  With the sun to my back, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to snatch a couple of photos in ideal morning light. 🙂

After my hawk diversion, I headed to Stony Kill Farm for a little exploring.  I started on a trail there that hugs the edge of the trees, then heads past the community gardens towards the farm.  Again, the lighting was ideal with the sun to my back, giving me a photography edge.  Sightings on the trail included a few blue jays, dozens of american crows, a downy woodpecker, and a very vocal carolina wren.

I then headed to the Verplanck Ridge Trail.  I actually ran into a fellow birder and we hiked the loop in search of wildlife.  Sightings included a red-tailed hawk, white-throated sparrows, blue jays, a downy woodpecker, a few pairs of cardinals, and a couple of white-breasted nuthatches.  Overall, very quiet with a few birds here and there.  Not completely satisfied with the day’s sightings, I headed over to Wappinger Lake.

I wasn’t expecting that the lake would be nearly completely frozen over so soon.  A few open patches of water were taken up by mute swans while ring-billed gulls stood on the ice.  There were even a few great blue herons standing around the lake.  After a few minutes, all the gulls took off in a frenzy because of a low flying bald eagle!  He then flew up into a tree halfway across the lake.  At that moment, a belted kingfisher landed right behind me.

Now, many of you don’t know that the belted kingfisher is my number one nemesis bird on my list.  They are very skiddish and difficult to photograph.  The bird watcher in me wanted to focus on the eagle, while the photographer in me wanted the shot of the kingfisher.  I opted for a few photos on the eagle (one seen at the top of my post).  When I was happy enough with them, I turned to the kingfisher and she started to get uneasy.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get the photo I could have gotten a few seconds earlier, and the eagle flew away immediately after.  You win again, kingfisher. 😛

Seeing that I still had some sunlight left, I finished up at Locust Grove in Poughkeepsie.  Right from the gate leading to the trails, I ran into a pileated woodpecker who hung around long enough for some quick snapshots.  At the river overlook, I saw two greater black-backed gull sitting on the river, as well as some mallards.  Other Locust Grove sightings included chickadees, tufted titmouse, juncos, white-throated sparrows, american robins, eastern bluebirds, and many cardinals.

Another terrific day comes to a close.  With inclement weather in the forecast for tomorrow, my outdoor activities come to a close this weekend.

Full Sighting List:

  1. Canada Geese
  2. Mute Swan
  3. Mallard
  4. Great Blue Heron
  5. Turkey Vulture
  6. Bald Eagle
  7. Red-Tailed Hawk
  8. Ring-Billed Gull
  9. Great Black-Backed Gull
  10. Rock Pigeon
  11. Mourning Dove
  12. Belted Kingfisher
  13. Red-Bellied Woodpecker
  14. Downy Woodpecker
  15. Northern Flicker (heard only)
  16. Pileated Woodpecker
  17. Blue Jay
  18. American Crow
  19. Black-Capped Chickadee
  20. Tufted Titmouse
  21. White-Breasted Nuthatch
  22. Carolina Wren
  23. Eastern Bluebird
  24. American Robin
  25. Northern Mockingbird
  26. European Starling
  27. White-Throated Sparrow
  28. Dark-Eyed Junco
  29. Northern Cardinal
  30. American Goldfinch
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One Response to 12/11/10 – Stony Kill, Wappinger Lake, Locust Grove Hike

  1. Sheila Bogart says:

    I love your site! I am an avid photographer and I am always wondering where I can go to see this or that. Your blog is a big help to me. I so enjoy reading of your adventures!
    I’m 60 years old and had spinal surgery so I am limited as to where I can hike to. (Franny Reece Park in Ulster is my limit) Your post is such a blessing to me. Also I have been trying for years to get the swans in Wappingers Lake but no way with the houses to get near them. How did you do it? Did you post those pictures? So much to say and ask but last question, I see you finally got your eagle shot but where in Wappingers? Did you see mine in Poughkeepsie? I will be reading your blog from start to finish. Thanks for creating it!

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