Saturday, April 25, 2009

Birding Class #5: Can it Get Any Better Than This?

What a wonderful day of birding today at Presque Isle! The weather was warm with an occasional light breeze blowing from the northwest and just a few episodes of cloud cover that were actually a welcome relief. Yes, I'll say it, it was almost too warm:) Migration seems to be getting well underway as we saw a few new species for the year. Our class also had a few newcomers as well. Enjoying today's class were Nancy, Diane, Philip, Kate, Judy, Pat, Janet, Bernhard, Julie Dell, Toni, Julie Leonard, Michele, Joao, Linda, and Jean.

There's me, always looking the other direction.Here's Janet and company scoping out some warbler activity on Pine Tree Trail.
Pat Howell was lucky to see a Northern Mockingbird fly across the road in front of her as she entered Vista 2. More kudos for Pat--One of our first of year birds was a white-eyed vireo that Pat was able to identify by it's call. Excellent ears Pat! After a few moments of searching we were able to spot a pair.
Still no young Great Horned Owls in view, but one of the parents was dutifully stting in the nest.
We found bird activity almost everywhere we stopped. We had some very nice views of a pine warbler that are sometimes difficult to see in the dense pine trees they frequent.

We also had a pretty cooperative blue-headed vireo. Notice the conspicuous white ring around the eye that really stands out against the blue-grey head.
In all we recorded 60 species of birds today:
Canada Goose--several at many sites
Wood Duck--several pairs, with some in trees, especially visible near the owl's nest
Mallard--a few around at various sites
Northern Shoveler--at least a pair at Niagara Pond
Ring-necked Duck--a few in Niagara Pond
Greater Scaup--a pair flying over Niagara Pond
Lesser Scaup-- a few in Niagara Pond
Bufflehead--four in Niagara Pond
Red-breasted Merganser--six flying over Niagara Pond
Wild Turkey--birds near beach 10 parking lot including one strutting male
Double-crested Cormorant--a string of birds high over Niagara Pond
Great Blue Heron--one over Thompson Bay and a couple over Niagara Pond
Great Egret--two over Fry's landing
Turkey Vulture--several flying over and around Niagara Pond
Sharp-shinned Hawk--two or three along Pine Tree Trail
Red-tailed Hawk--one immature over Niagara Pond
American Coot--a few in Niagara Pond
Killdeer--a couple calling overhead
Bonaparte's Gull--a few flying around the park, but especially over Presque Isle Bay
Ring-billed Gull--singles overhead
Herring Gull--single immatures overhead
Caspian Tern--a few, with at least a couple showing well over Niagara Pond
Mourning Dove--three or four flybys at Pine Tree Trail
Great Horned Owl--one adult on the nest
Belted Kingfisher--one or two at Fry's landing and over Niagara Pond
Downy Woodpecker--at least a couple
White-eyed Vireo--two at Niagara boat launch and one at one on Pine Tree Trail
Blue-headed Vireo--two at Thompson Circle
Warbling Vireo--one at Thompson Circle
Blue Jay--at least a couple at Niagara Pond
American Crow--a few flying overhead
Tree Swallow--several, especially visible on the wires at Niagara Pond

Case in point!
Barn Swallow--at least a couple overhead
Black-capped Chickadee--one near the owls nest and a couple on Pine Tree Trail
Red-breasted Nuthatch--one on Pine tree Trail
White-breasted Nuthatch--one heard on Pine Tree Trail
Brown Creeper--one at Thompson Circle
Golden-crowned Kinglet--one heard on Pine Tree trail
Ruby-crowned Kinglet--at least a few along all of the trails
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher--several at each stop at the east end of the park
Hermit Thrush--one on Dead Pond Trail and one on Pine Tree Trail
American Robin--just a few at various sites
European Starling-- a few overhead
Black-throated Blue Warbler--one on Pine Tree Trail
Yellow-rumped Warbler--many at several sites
Black-throated Green Warbler--singles on Pine Tree Trail, Fry's landing, and Thompson Circle
Pine Warbler--several close looks at the above sites
Palm Warbler--several on the trails at the east end of the park
Black-and-White Warbler--one at Fry's landing and one at Thompson Circle
Eastern Towhee--several throughout, mostly heard
Chipping Sparrow--several heard singing at various sites
Song Sparrow--one or two heard singing
Swamp Sparrow--two or three singing in Niagara Pond
White-throated Sparrow--several throughout, but most evident alon Pine Tree Trail
Northern Cardinal--one or two heard singing
Red-winged Blackbird--several, especially territorial males, at a few locations
Now that's territorial!!
Common Grackle--dozens overhead
Hairy Woodpecker--near GHOW nest
Brown-headed Cowbird--several throughoutPurple Finch--one or two along Pine Tree Trail
Others stuff of note seen:
Common Green Darner (dragonfly), Mourning Cloak (butterfly), Spring Azure (butterfly)

Yes, spring has truly sprung!

Thanks for stopping by and a big THANK YOU to Jerry McWilliams for sharing his knowledge and allowing us to use his class synopsis for the blog each week.

Stay tuned for our next posts including interviews with Gene Ware about his new book, Whispers Across the Pond; Tom Wasilewski from the Presque Isle Audubon Societies Eagle Watch Program about the program's current local bald eagle monitoring activities.


Jennifer Rose said...

love that splash of red on his wing :)

gorgeous photos :D

Linda in Erie said...

Beautiful photographs! It sounds like a great group to be a part of and an impressive list of birds.

Toni said...

Jennifer and Linda thank you so much for commenting. It is greatly appreciated.


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