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Bird Fest 2014 day 1

Posted by on Jun 11, 2014

This is the first of two blog posts on RTPI’s Bird Fest 2014 which took place on Friday, June 6 and Saturday, June 7. The first day featured two excursions focused on wetlands and grasslands. The wetlands stop took us to Akeley Swamp Important Bird Area just south of the New York-Pennsylvania border in Pine Grove Township, Warren County for a walk led by Don Watts. As you can see our morning fog lifted out and revealed a perfect June day.

Akeley Swamp fog

Akeley Swamp view

This afforded us a lot of good viewing opportunities and a chance to conduct rail callback surveys via my iPhone – we had Virginia Rails and a Sora!

Akeley Swamp BF

We made sure to take in the beautiful butterflies surrounding us on the trail, some rather uncommon. This particular one, the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, is abundant and a species you can find in your own yard.

Akeley Swamp Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

The “best” (it’s all relative!) bird for me on our morning at Akeley was this Orchard Oriole, a distant first-spring male singing away. It was the first for me for the spring, surprisingly enough. A nearby male Baltimore Oriole provided great views as well.

Akeley Swamp Orchard Oriole

Akeley Swamp Baltimore Oriole

As we left Akeley we encountered a local farmer bringing a Milk Snake to release that he had recovered from his greenhouse. This kind man was carefully transporting it to where he felt it would do well instead of, as many people sadly do out of ignorance or fear, killing it. We talked for some time while everyone admired this scarce snake and RTPI President Twan Leenders discussed its biology with the group.

Milk Snake BF (2)

Milk Snake BF

Twan and snake BF (2)

Twan and snake BF

The full eBird list of birds we saw or heard at Akeley is as follows (not a single person recorded every bird and this was a true group effort):

68 species
Canada Goose 1
Wood Duck 5
Mallard 2
Hooded Merganser 12
Pied-billed Grebe 1
Great Blue Heron 1
Green Heron 8
Turkey Vulture 1
Osprey 1
Bald Eagle 1
Virginia Rail 2
Sora 1
Mourning Dove 1
Yellow-billed Cuckoo 2
Black-billed Cuckoo 1
Eastern Screech-Owl 1
Chimney Swift 3
Belted Kingfisher 2
Red-bellied Woodpecker 2
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1
Downy Woodpecker 2
Hairy Woodpecker 2
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 2
Pileated Woodpecker 2
Eastern Wood-Pewee 3
Alder Flycatcher 1
Willow Flycatcher 5
Empidonax sp. 2
Eastern Phoebe 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 2
Eastern Kingbird 1
Warbling Vireo 3
Red-eyed Vireo 1
Blue Jay 2
American Crow 7
Tree Swallow 5
Barn Swallow 6
Black-capped Chickadee 2
White-breasted Nuthatch (Eastern) 1
House Wren 1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1 Heard by Twan
Veery 3
Wood Thrush 2
American Robin 4
Gray Catbird 5
European Starling 6
Cedar Waxwing 7
Northern Waterthrush 2
Blue-winged Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat 8
Hooded Warbler 1
American Redstart 1
Yellow Warbler 11
Chestnut-sided Warbler 2
Eastern Towhee 1
Chipping Sparrow 3
Song Sparrow 2
Swamp Sparrow 1
Scarlet Tanager 1
Northern Cardinal 1
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 2
Indigo Bunting 1
Red-winged Blackbird 16
Common Grackle 4
Brown-headed Cowbird 1
Orchard Oriole 1
Baltimore Oriole 3
American Goldfinch 7

Our afternoon excursion took us to the grasslands of the Chautauqua County/Jamestown Airport in search of breeding species like Bobolink, Savannah Sparrow, Eastern Meadowlark under the direction of past RTPI President Jim Berry and Twan. We had two big targets: the Grasshopper Sparrow and Henslow’s Sparrow, state-listed high-priority birds we recorded as nesting there in 2013.

Bobolink KJHW

Bobolink by Scott Kruitbosch

460

Henslow’s Sparrow in 2013 by Twan Leenders

Grasshopper Sparrow in 2013 by Twan Leenders

Grasshopper Sparrow in 2013 by Twan Leenders

While we did not see either they will hopefully be here very soon. The bird list for this stop was:

40 species
Turkey Vulture 3
Bald Eagle 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Mourning Dove 1
Chimney Swift 3
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 1
American Kestrel 2
Willow Flycatcher 2
Eastern Phoebe 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 1
Eastern Kingbird 4
Red-eyed Vireo 1
Blue Jay 1
American Crow 5
Tree Swallow 1
White-breasted Nuthatch 1
American Robin 4
Gray Catbird 1
Brown Thrasher 1
European Starling 2
Blue-winged Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat 1
Hooded Warbler 1
Yellow Warbler 2
Chestnut-sided Warbler 1
Eastern Towhee 1
Chipping Sparrow 1
Savannah Sparrow 14
Song Sparrow 5
Northern Cardinal 1
Indigo Bunting 2
Bobolink 24
Red-winged Blackbird 13
Eastern Meadowlark 11
Common Grackle 4
Brown-headed Cowbird 2
Baltimore Oriole 1
American Goldfinch 2

We also visited Clay Pond Wildlife Management Area to enjoy nesting Osprey and many odonates like this teneral Widow Skimmer in the grasses.

Widow Skimmer teneral Clay Pond WMA

The birds we enjoyed here were:

25 species
Canada Goose 1
Green Heron 2
Osprey 2
Willow Flycatcher 1
Eastern Kingbird 1
Blue Jay 2
American Crow 1
Tree Swallow 2
Barn Swallow 3
House Wren 1
American Robin 3
Gray Catbird 2
European Starling 3
Cedar Waxwing 2
Common Yellowthroat 1
Yellow Warbler 2
Chipping Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 3
Swamp Sparrow 2
Scarlet Tanager 1
Northern Cardinal 1
Red-winged Blackbird 7
Common Grackle 2
Baltimore Oriole 1
American Goldfinch 2

A stop back at RTPI brought more birds and odonates, and the combined list of birds we spotted at RTPI in our visits during the entire day was:

41 species
Canada Goose 2
Green Heron 1
Turkey Vulture 3
Red-shouldered Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Ring-billed Gull 2
Mourning Dove 2
Chimney Swift 2
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker (Eastern) 1
Northern Flicker 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee 1
Least Flycatcher 1
Eastern Phoebe 1
Great Crested Flycatcher 1
Red-eyed Vireo 1
Blue Jay 1
American Crow 2
Black-capped Chickadee 2
White-breasted Nuthatch (Eastern) 1
House Wren 2
Carolina Wren 1
American Robin 2
Gray Catbird 1
European Starling 8
Cedar Waxwing 2
Blue-winged Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat 1
American Redstart 1
Yellow Warbler 1
Chestnut-sided Warbler 1
Black-throated Green Warbler 1
Chipping Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 2
Scarlet Tanager 1
Northern Cardinal 1
Red-winged Blackbird 1
Common Grackle 2
Baltimore Oriole 1
American Goldfinch 2

Thank you to all who joined us on this terrific day and to our trip leaders Don and Jim! My next blog entry will be a post about Saturday’s trips to the forest and escarpment.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator