Thursday, March 31, 2011

Oatka Creek Park • March 30

It was a partially sunny and 50F late afternoon birding hike in Oatka today. Things had started off promisingly with a Great Blue Heron soaring over Rochester Technology Park (the former Kodak Elmgrove Plant) on my drive home. At Oatka, I was a bit fixated on finding Wood Ducks, so, naturally, I didn't find them. Or maybe I did. By the marshy area along the dirt road leading into the woods, I heard what I thought was the stuttering calls of female Wood Ducks, though there was just enough of a mismatch with my iPod recording that I wondered. I bushwhacked deeply into the brush tonight and finally made it around the marsh and onto the far edge where the calls originated. The calls receded from me just like secretive ducks, but I was never able to get even a glance of the sources. At this point I decided to head up to the creek and walk from the dam ruins all the way back to the bridge. Unfortunately, the creek was devoid of birds, except for a couple crows and a few Blue Jays. Resuming my normal route at that point, I eventually found a female Eastern Bluebird on her chosen nesting box along Bluebird Trail. A while later I was on the final section of White Tail Trail when a large vortex of Turkey Vultures formed: 20+, all soaring in a large column. One final pass by the marsh on the way out revealed little more than Red-winged Blackbirds and robins. As a consolation prize on the drive home, a Northern Mockingbird flew across the road in front of my car, white patches clearly visible on its outstretched gray wings! :-)




White-throated Sparrow


Eastern Bluebird


Eastern Bluebird


Eastern Bluebird


Northern Cardinal


Turkey Vultures


Location:     Rochester Technology Park
Observation date:     3/30/11
Number of species:     1


Great Blue Heron     1


This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)


Location:     Oatka Creek Park
Observation date:     3/30/11
Notes:      
Number of species:     19


Canada Goose     16
Mallard     4
Turkey Vulture     24
Mourning Dove     1
Downy Woodpecker     1
Northern Flicker     2
Blue Jay     7
American Crow     25
Black-capped Chickadee     8
Tufted Titmouse     3
White-breasted Nuthatch     1
Carolina Wren     1
Eastern Bluebird     1
American Robin     9
Song Sparrow     2
White-throated Sparrow     4
Dark-eyed Junco     1
Northern Cardinal     9
Red-winged Blackbird     7


This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)


Location:     Morgan Rd and Union St
Observation date:     3/30/11
Number of species:     1


Northern Mockingbird     1


This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Oatka Creek Park • March 29

It was a mostly sunny and 46F late afternoon birding hike in Oatka today. It was another day of light bird activity that picked up a bit near the end. As I passed the marshy area along the dirt road heading into the woods, I heard some bird vocalizations I didn't recognize. Walking to the edge of the water didn't reveal the source of the calls, as they seemed well hidden in the reeds. The mystery would be solved on the way out some two and a half hours later. Wanting to get a different view into the marsh, I took Brown Creeper Trail to see if I could enter from the opposite direction. Unfortunately, the brambles along this trail were too thick and the thorns too painful to make much progress into the marsh. Turning around to extract myself from the foliage, a Carolina Wren first called and then sang *very* loudly! It seemed to be a mere few feet away from me, though the thick foliage gave it enough cover that no amount of searching on my part revealed the songster, even with the aid of its continual singing. Returning to the main trail, the remainder of the hike through the park was unremarkable. Returning past the marsh on the way back to the parking lot, I heard different calls and then everything snapped into place: Wood Ducks; female Wood Duck calls in this case. A quick trip to the water's edge revealed a pair of Wood Ducks taking to flight from the water. A search of my Audubon iPod app revealed a sound clip for "female stuttering calls", complete with Red-winged Blackbirds in the background. That matched what I had heard (Wood Ducks and Red-winged Blackbirds) when I passed the area at the beginning of my hike.




Eastern Chipmunk


American Robin


Location:     Oatka Creek Park
Observation date:     3/29/11
Notes:      
Number of species:     15


Wood Duck     2
Mallard     2
Turkey Vulture     8
Red-bellied Woodpecker     1
Blue Jay     5
American Crow     9
Black-capped Chickadee     7
Tufted Titmouse     2
White-breasted Nuthatch     2
Carolina Wren     1
American Robin     7
Song Sparrow     1
Northern Cardinal     6
Red-winged Blackbird     6
Common Grackle     1


This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Oatka Creek Park • March 28

It was a sunny and windy, 39F late afternoon birding hike in Oatka today. For the most part it was another thin day of birds in the park. A few birds sang here and there, though the wind masked all but the loudest or nearest vocalizations. There was a spike of activity along the fields of Black Billed Cuckoo Trail when the absence of birdlife was simultaneously broken with a couple low-gliding Turkey Vultures, a Pileated Woodpecker, a few Northern Flickers, and a pair of Eastern Bluebirds. The last three species were clearly reacting to my presence with their urgent alarm and interaction calls. Moving on, all soon became quiet again. Bluebird Trail was empty and Maple Hill was surprisingly light on bird activity, too. On the last stretch of White Tail Trail I spotted a perching Red-tailed Hawk in the distance that immediately took to wing with my notice. Finishing up White Tail, I was brooding on how the hike had been particularly unremarkable when I suddenly noticed a persistence chipping that seemed different than that produced by the usual park residents. I followed the sound to the source and saw a flycatcher! It was bobbing its tail which helped confirm it to be the usual first flycatcher back to the park for the spring: an Eastern Phoebe. It engaged in quite a bit of flycatching, too, which was interesting since I've barely noticed any kind of insect in the park, yet. (There are some small and delicate mosquito-like things flying about, though.) Turned the hike into something of note! :-)




Northern Flicker


White-throated Sparrow


Eastern Phoebe


Eastern Phoebe


White-breasted Nuthatch


Location:     Oatka Creek Park
Observation date:     3/28/11
Notes:      
Number of species:     18


Turkey Vulture     3
Red-tailed Hawk     1
Red-bellied Woodpecker     2
Northern Flicker     2
Pileated Woodpecker     1
Eastern Phoebe     1
Blue Jay     2
American Crow     9
Black-capped Chickadee     6
Tufted Titmouse     4
White-breasted Nuthatch     1
Eastern Bluebird     2
American Robin     13
European Starling     6
White-throated Sparrow     3
Northern Cardinal     4
Red-winged Blackbird     4
Common Grackle     2


This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Durand Eastman Park • March 27

This morning I attended the Rochester Birding Association field trip to Durand Eastman Park, the Braddock Bay Hawkwatch Platform, and Owl Woods. It was a great morning, weather-wise, apart from being a tad bit chilly. The highlights of Durand Eastman Park were a Pileated Woodpecker, Wood Ducks, and tons of Turkey Vultures! At the hawkwatch platform the skies were generally empty. However, the bay was full of ducks and we found a quite a nice variety. In the scrubs at the edge of the bay a Northern Shrike was spotted, which is an uncommon winter visitor from upper Canada. Owl Woods appeared devoid of owls today, as none were found with our many eyes. We satisfied ourselves with a couple singing White-throated Sparrows on the way out.




Common Grackle


Pileated Woodpecker


Pileated Woodpecker


White-breasted Nuthatch


Hairy Woodpecker


Pied-billed Grebe


Wood Ducks


Wood Ducks


Location:     Durand-Eastman Park--Zoo Road
Observation date:     3/27/11
Notes:      
Number of species:     26


Canada Goose     10
Mute Swan     2
Wood Duck     5
Mallard     2
Pied-billed Grebe     1
Turkey Vulture     50
Ring-billed Gull     7
Mourning Dove     4
Red-bellied Woodpecker     6
Downy Woodpecker     5
Hairy Woodpecker     1
Pileated Woodpecker     2
Blue Jay     9
American Crow     5
Black-capped Chickadee     12
Tufted Titmouse     7
White-breasted Nuthatch     4
Carolina Wren     1
American Robin     12
Song Sparrow     3
Dark-eyed Junco     5
Northern Cardinal     5
Red-winged Blackbird     10
Common Grackle     1
Brown-headed Cowbird     1
Pine Siskin     5


This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)


Location:     Braddock Bay WMA--Hawk Watch
Observation date:     3/27/11
Notes:      
Number of species:     22


Canada Goose     9
Mute Swan     4
Gadwall     2
American Wigeon     2
Mallard     2
Northern Shoveler     1
Ring-necked Duck     12
Greater Scaup     4
Lesser Scaup     1
Bufflehead     6
Common Goldeneye     5
Hooded Merganser     2
Common Merganser     2
Red-breasted Merganser     2
Horned Grebe     3
Turkey Vulture     3
Ring-billed Gull     40
Northern Shrike     1
American Crow     4
Black-capped Chickadee     4
American Robin     5
Red-winged Blackbird     3


This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)


Location:     Braddock Bay WMA--Owl Woods
Observation date:     3/27/11
Notes:      
Number of species:     2


Black-capped Chickadee     8
White-throated Sparrow     2


This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)

Oatka Creek Park • March 26

It was a sunny and 33F late afternoon birding hike in Oatka today. It was another quiet run with a thin distribution of birds throughout the park. Maple Hill continues to be the "birdiest" spot in the park at the present. What I found most interesting is the relatively large number of titmice on the hill these days and the impressive array of songs and calls they are using -- far more than given in my Audubon app on my iPod. (This is the same extensive collection as in the Sibley app.) When I finally made it back to the parking lot, a large group of Turkey Vultures put on a nice spiraling display to finishing the outing in style!




Tufted Titmouse


Tufted Titmouse


Tufted Titmouse


White Tail Deer


Location:     Oatka Creek Park
Observation date:     3/26/11
Notes:      
Number of species:     14


Turkey Vulture     11
Red-tailed Hawk     1
Red-bellied Woodpecker     2
Northern Flicker     1
Blue Jay     2
American Crow     11
Black-capped Chickadee     7
Tufted Titmouse     3
White-breasted Nuthatch     1
Golden-crowned Kinglet     1
American Robin     15
White-throated Sparrow     1
Northern Cardinal     4
Red-winged Blackbird     5


This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Owl Woods • March 26

Early this afternoon, Mary Flood and I popped by Owl Woods for a quick pass through the area. There we met some birders from Buffalo, Alec and Joe, plus two others in their party that we didn't catch the names of. Alec led us to a Northern Saw-whet Owl that he had just found and was in the process of showing to the rest of his group. From the first picture, you can see the owl had its back to the trail. I went further down the trail and was able to reenter the area from a different direction to get the second picture of the front of the owl. As always, I was at a respectable distance from the owl (15 to 20 feet away) and my fabulous Canon PowerShot SX30IS did the rest! After leaving Owl Woods, we passed an American Kestrel perched on a power line next to the road. It was a fitting conclusion to our bird outing!


Click the pictures for larger versions!


Northern Saw-whet Owl


Northern Saw-whet Owl


American Kestrel


Location:     Braddock Bay WMA--Owl Woods
Observation date:     3/26/11
Notes:      
Number of species:     1


Northern Saw-whet Owl     1


This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)


Location:     First Bible Baptist Church ponds (Greece)
Observation date:     3/26/11
Notes:      
Number of species:     1


American Kestrel     1


This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Oatka Creek Park • March 25

It was a partially sunny and snowy, 33F late afternoon birding hike in Oatka today. At times it would be both sunny and snowing. Birds were again thinly spread throughout the park with the most active area being the bottom of Maple Hill. The most interesting photo ops were with a Pileated Woodpecker and a Brown Creeper. Aside from that, it is just waiting for the weather to turn and bring the next wave of migrants!




Pileated Woodpecker


Pileated Woodpecker


Brown Creeper


Brown Creeper


Location:     Oatka Creek Park
Observation date:     3/25/11
Notes:      
Number of species:     16


Canada Goose     2
Turkey Vulture     2
Red-bellied Woodpecker     1
Hairy Woodpecker     1
Pileated Woodpecker     1
American Crow     8
Black-capped Chickadee     4
Tufted Titmouse     3
White-breasted Nuthatch     1
Brown Creeper     1
Eastern Bluebird     1
American Robin     19
American Tree Sparrow     2
Dark-eyed Junco     1
Northern Cardinal     3
Red-winged Blackbird     3


This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Oatka Creek Park • March 24

It was a sunny, windy, and cold 37F late afternoon birding hike in Oatka today. The cold seemed to be inhibiting bird activity, as birds were, for the most part, scarce and thinly distributed throughout the park. The most entertaining event was standing atop Maple Hill in the biting wind, watching an impromptu vortex of six Turkey Vultures form overhead and spiral at treetop level around me for several passes. Binoculars were not needed to see their red heads. Then the line of birds straightened out and in pretty much single file resumed following Steward Road in a westwardly direction.

American Robin

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture

Northern Cardinal

Location:     Oatka Creek Park
Observation date:     3/24/11
Notes:    
Number of species:     16

Turkey Vulture     6
Cooper's Hawk     1
Red-bellied Woodpecker     1
Downy Woodpecker     2
Hairy Woodpecker     2
Northern Flicker     2
American Crow     3
Black-capped Chickadee     12
Tufted Titmouse     3
White-breasted Nuthatch     1
American Robin     20
Song Sparrow     1
Dark-eyed Junco     1
Northern Cardinal     6
Red-winged Blackbird     4
Common Grackle     7

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(
http://ebird.org)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Oatka Creek Park • March 22

It was a cloudy and 42F late afternoon hike in Oatka today. Most of tonight's fun was on Maple Hill. First, as I watched near the top of the hill, a vortex of 10 Turkey Vultures landed in a tree by the side of Stewart Road, which defines the southern edge of the park. For the most part, they looked like they were ready to roost or, at least, were pre-roosting, if I remember the term correctly. The other surprise was at the base of the hill where a large seasonal swamp/pond has formed, tucked away in the woods. Some calls I've never heard in Oatka before led me to Wood Ducks! It makes all the sense in the world for them to be there. It's just that I've never found them in this park before.

Black-capped Chickadee

Turkey Vultures

Location:     Oatka Creek Park
Observation date:     3/22/11
Notes:    
Number of species:     22

Canada Goose     6
Wood Duck     2
Mallard     2
Turkey Vulture     12
Red-tailed Hawk     1
Killdeer     1
Ring-billed Gull     1
Downy Woodpecker     1
Hairy Woodpecker     1
Pileated Woodpecker     1
Blue Jay     2
American Crow     6
Black-capped Chickadee     5
Tufted Titmouse     3
White-breasted Nuthatch     1
Eastern Bluebird     1
American Robin     8
European Starling     20
Song Sparrow     2
Northern Cardinal     4
Red-winged Blackbird     6
Common Grackle     1

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(
http://ebird.org)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Owl Woods • March 22

I stopped by Owl Woods on my way home from work today and found one Northern Saw-whet Owl. Always worth the effort! :-)

Click the pictures for larger versions!

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Here's another edition of "Spot the Owl!" By the way, I am standing in the exact same spot for this shot and the full-zoom shots above!

Location:     Braddock Bay WMA--Owl Woods
Observation date:     3/22/11
Notes:   
Number of species:     1

Northern Saw-whet Owl     1

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(
http://ebird.org)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Oatka Creek Park • March 20

It was a sunny and cold 25F early morning birding hike in Oatka today. The singing of the cardinals was so loud and omnipresent that it made birding-by-ear for other species surprisingly challenging. With effort, I was eventually able to tune them out sufficiently to realize that Song Sparrows are swelling in numbers and aggressively establishing and defending their territories throughout the park. While most birds were still remaining hidden when possible, the Song Sparrows were out in the open and nearly in my face on Maple Hill. :-) The new song this morning in the chorus was from an old friend: singing Golden-crowned Kinglets. The three-note buzzy call seems to have been replaced by a set of rising notes that kind of tumbles into a heap at the end. Finally, the Red-bellied Woodpecker and Northern Flicker are in full song, now, and can be heard proclaiming their territories far and wide, particularly the flicker.


Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Location:     Oatka Creek Park
Observation date:     3/20/11
Notes:    
Number of species:     19

Canada Goose     65
Ring-billed Gull     5
Red-bellied Woodpecker     3
Downy Woodpecker     2
Northern Flicker     1
Pileated Woodpecker     1
Blue Jay     6
American Crow     16
Black-capped Chickadee     8
Tufted Titmouse     7
White-breasted Nuthatch     3
Golden-crowned Kinglet     3
Eastern Bluebird     1
American Robin     11
Song Sparrow     7
Dark-eyed Junco     2
Northern Cardinal     14
Red-winged Blackbird     12
Brown-headed Cowbird     2

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(
http://ebird.org)

Oatka Creek Park • March 19

It was a cloudy, windy, and cold 33F early morning birding hike in Oatka today. Spring continues to evolve, despite an apparent setback in temperature this morning. A chorus of Red-winged Blackbirds, cardinals, and titmice greeted me as I exited my car upon arriving. Several other regular species were in attendance, as well. Things calmed down for the remainder of the woodland portions of the hike with only a close encounter with a Song Sparrow down by the creek to break up the quiet. The field environments of the southern portion of the park were distinctly more active with bluebirds, woodpeckers, and sparrows out and about. Today's surprise was entering the base of Maple Hill, looking up, and seeing a Turkey Vulture perched low and over the road at the top of the hill. Cars passing underneath didn't seem to phase it, so I approached it as closely as the trail in the park would allow, taking pictures the whole way. (I was never in danger of getting really close, though.)


Red-winged Blackbird

Blue Jay

Eastern Bluebird

American Tree Sparrow

American Tree Sparrow

Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture

Northern Flicker

Location:     Oatka Creek Park
Observation date:     3/19/11
Notes:    
Number of species:     21

Canada Goose     90
Turkey Vulture     2
Ring-billed Gull     2
Red-bellied Woodpecker     5
Downy Woodpecker     1
Hairy Woodpecker     2
Northern Flicker     1
Blue Jay     7
American Crow     5
Black-capped Chickadee     5
Tufted Titmouse     5
White-breasted Nuthatch     2
Eastern Bluebird     2
American Robin     16
American Tree Sparrow     1
Song Sparrow     2
White-throated Sparrow     3
Dark-eyed Junco     1
Northern Cardinal     8
Red-winged Blackbird     14
Common Grackle     100

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(
http://ebird.org)