08/26/11 – Vassar Farm Hike

Belted Kingfisher

There’s a hurricane coming!  That gives me Friday & Saturday to take as many photos as humanly possible to share while I’m indoors to ride out the storm.  Day one was a long visit to Vassar Farm.

I don’t know if it’s been all the rain we’ve been getting, but all the bugs brought out plenty of my feathered friends.  It seems like it’s been long time since I had a good birding day, and it felt great to see all the familiar species.

It shouldn’t be a big surprise that I started out at the front pond area.  It’s almost a tradition at this point to start my day there.

I could hear green herons as I walked up to the trail, but I never saw them.  There were plenty of mallards though, six in total.  The belted kingfisher even made a very brief appearance.  The biggest surprise was a pair of hummingbirds flying about, but they never stayed still long enough to react.

It wasn’t until I got to the grassy trail leading to the fields when I begun to notice tons of movement in the trees.  The first thing I spotted was a baltimore oriole, followed by a red-eyed vireo, then a young blue-gray gnatcatcher and several song sparrows and field sparrows.  What a streak!  I had no time to waste, as bluebirds and eastern wood pewees began to move out of the trees too.  I’ve never photographed a wood pewee before, so I focused some time trying to get the shot.  No luck though, every time I raised my camera up to take a photo, it would fly off.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

The sightings continued to get better, with an indigo bunting sighting, juvenile wrens (not sure if they were house wrens or carolina wrens), a pileated woodpecker that flew overhead, and another hummingbird!  This time, I got a photograph.

All of this came become I even walked past the gate into the fields.  It almost felt like all the animals were stocking up on food knowing what was coming.  Things slowed down in the fields, but picked right back up at the back ponds.

Once again, I heard eastern wood pewees, but this time, I got some photos.  It’s been three and a half months since my last new bird photographed, and it felt great!  Other than a toad I found on my way back to the parking lot, sightings dropped off completely.  I can’t complain though, it was a terrific day!

Bird Sightings / Sounds List:

  1. Mallard
  2. Green Heron
  3. Red-tailed Hawk
  4. Mourning Dove
  5. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  6. Belted Kingfisher
  7. Red-bellied Woodpecker (heard only)
  8. Downy Woodpecker
  9. Northern Flicker
  10. Pileated Woodpecker
  11. Eastern Wood Pewee (New bird photographed!)
  12. Red-eyed Vireo
  13. Blue Jay
  14. American Crow
  15. Barn Swallow
  16. Black-capped Chickadee
  17. White-breasted Nuthatch
  18. Carolina Wren
  19. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  20. Eastern Bluebird
  21. American Robin
  22. Gray Catbird
  23. Northern Mockingbird
  24. European Starling
  25. American Redstart
  26. Field Sparrow
  27. Song Sparrow
  28. Northern Cardinal
  29. Indigo Bunting
  30. Baltimore Oriole
  31. American Goldfinch
  32. House Sparrow
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