Photos from 05/10/11 – Vassar Farm Hike (Part 1)

Indigo Bunting

In the interest of catching up on everything I’ve photographed recently, I am combining my notes & observations with my photo gallery.  After the gallery, you can find my full sighting list.

Last Tuesday, I had an entire day to go hiking and look for migrating birds.  I started my day around 6:30 am at Vassar Farm.  I wanted to start somewhere sunny, so I walked around the perimeter of the rugby field first.  There wasn’t much around yet, but I ended up seeing an american redstart and this indigo bunting.

After walking around there twice, I headed to the front pond.  I could see a great blue heron as I hiked down to the pond, but I wanted to scope out the perimeter first.  That led me to my first adult white-crowned sparrow!  I’ve seen several young ones in the past, but I finally photographed an adult one now for my wildlife guide.

At the front pond, there were yellow-rumped warblers and yellow warblers everywhere.  There were also many catbirds too.  I could hear northern parulas from the treetops, but I never spotted them.  I did happen to find a warbling vireo though, hopping about near the top of the trees.  Baltimore orioles were chasing each other every now and then too.

As I hiked across the trail into the wooden area right past the front pond, I noticed things were getting quieter.  All I heard was a lone blue-winged warbler.  In the wooden area, I didn’t hear much of anything.  I decided to check out another area while I was back there, which would lead me back to the rugby field.  Unfortunately, that area was also quiet.

Eastern Kingbird

Once I made it to the fields, things picked up with eastern kingbirds flying down into the grass.  Normally, I see them on top of branches near the top of the trees, so it was nice to see them at this level for a change.  I also had a tree swallow do the exact same thing too.

The eco ponds were not as lively as I’ve seen it in the past, but there were still some notable sightings.  The eastern painted turtles were soaking in the sun on a log on the pond and northern rough-winged swallows perched on nearby branches.  There were also a couple of common grackles and yellow warblers too.

Things really began to pick up once I crossed over the wooden bridge by the eco ponds to head into the wooded area.  I saw several scarlet tanagers fly through, but I couldn’t get any photos this time.  What I did photograph moments later were great crested flycatchers.  They were mostly obstructed by branches, but they were still nice to see.

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Then I found a tree that had a couple of warblers in it.  As I began to check each one, I thought all of them would be yellow-rumped warblers.  Turned out that the last one was a chestnut-sided warbler!  I couldn’t get a clear shot, but this is worlds better than the one I photographed last year.

I continued into the woods and picked up another trail that would bring me up to the field station.  Suddenly, I heard a warbler call that I didn’t recognize.  I began to listen to the calls I don’t know on my mp3 player and it sounded like a bay-breasted warbler!  I stood around for close to a half hour before the warbler came down from the tree tops.  After all that time, I had mere seconds to photograph him.

Once I got to the field station, I picked up the blue trail, which would lead me back to the parking lot.  I saw several common yellowthroats back there, including a female too.  I also spotted some blue jays, gray catbirds, and a white-breasted nuthatch.  When I finally got back to the parking lot, I sat at the picnic tables to drink some water and a pair of chipping sparrows flew up into a tree next to me.  After that, I packed up my stuff to head to Peach Hill Park for the afternoon.

Wildlife Photos from 05/10/11 – Vassar Farm (click photos to enlarge)

Full Sighting/Sound List:

  1. Canada Goose
  2. Mallard
  3. Wild Turkey
  4. Great Blue Heron
  5. Green Heron
  6. Solitary Sandpiper
  7. Mourning Dove
  8. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  9. Downy Woodpecker
  10. Hairy Woodpecker
  11. Pileated Woodpecker
  12. Least Flycatcher
  13. Eastern Phoebe
  14. Great Crested Flycatcher
  15. Eastern Kingbird
  16. Warbling Vireo
  17. Red-eyed Vireo
  18. Blue Jay
  19. American Crow
  20. Tree Swallow
  21. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
  22. Barn Swallow
  23. Black-capped Chickadee
  24. Tufted Titmouse
  25. White-breasted Nuthatch
  26. Carolina Wren
  27. House Wren
  28. Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher
  29. Eastern Bluebird
  30. Wood Thrush (heard only)
  31. American Robin
  32. Gray Catbird
  33. Northern Mockingbird
  34. European Starling
  35. Blue-winged Warbler
  36. Northern Parula (heard only)
  37. Yellow Warbler
  38. Chestnut-sided Warbler
  39. Black-throated Blue Warbler (heard only)
  40. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  41. Black-throated Green Warbler (heard only)
  42. Bay-breasted Warbler (new bird photographed! #116)
  43. American Redstart
  44. Ovenbird (heard only)
  45. Common Yellowthroat
  46. Eastern Towhee (heard only)
  47. Chipping Sparrow
  48. Field Sparrow (heard only)
  49. Song Sparrow
  50. White-throated Sparrow
  51. White-crowned Sparrow
  52. Scarlet Tanager
  53. Northern Cardinal
  54. Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
  55. Indigo Bunting
  56. Red-winged Blackbird
  57. Common Grackle
  58. Brown-headed Cowbird
  59. Baltimore Oriole
  60. American Goldfinch
  61. House Sparrow
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One Response to Photos from 05/10/11 – Vassar Farm Hike (Part 1)

  1. You had a very productive day- I enjoy your photography!

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