Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • January 31


Oatka Creek Park, Monroe, US-NY
Jan 31, 2012
Protocol: Traveling
4.5 mile(s)
Comments:     It was a cloudy 56F hike in Oatka today. The unseasonably warm weather seemed to have a number of birds in a springtime mode. Most notable to me was finding a pair of Brown Creepers in the woods along Black Billed Cuckoo Trail. The birds were together, so I wonder if this was some kind of warm weather area movement, as I've only seen lone Creepers of late. I also found a pair of White-breasted Nuthatches, though pairs of nuthatches have not been unusual in the park this winter. The White-throated Sparrows were active and constantly moving around, making counts difficult. Finally, along Bluebird Trail in a patch of woods, a previously undetected Downy Woodpecker called right next to my left ear and I turned in time to see it squeeze itself into a cavity in a slender tree by my side.  I waited for a few minutes to see if the woodpecker would reemerge from that or another cavity in the tree, but there was no encore. Either it was waiting for me to be good and gone or that was where it was going to roost for the night. Either way, it was a pleasant encounter!


White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

Brown Creeper

American Red Squirrel

10 species


Canada Goose  50
Ring-billed Gull  1
Downy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  1
American Crow  4
Black-capped Chickadee  7
White-breasted Nuthatch  2
Brown Creeper  2
White-throated Sparrow  9
Northern Cardinal  2


This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

Ontario Beach and Charlotte Pier • January 31


Ontario Beach and Charlotte Pier, Monroe, US-NY
Jan 31, 2012
Protocol: Incidental
Comments:     It was a mostly cloudy 52F noontime stop at Charlotte Pier. The remarkable change in weather from yesterday had the majority of the snow and ice on the pier completely melted and gone. The Snowy Owl was on the roof of one of the apartment buildings to the east of the Coast Guard station, huddled next to one of the roof vents. She seemed relatively inactive. Perhaps she was digesting a recent meal? To my surprise there were people on Summerville Pier. Apparently there was enough ice and snow melted for a few brave souls.


Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl

1 species


Snowy Owl  1


This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • January 30


Oatka Creek Park, Monroe, US-NY
Jan 30, 2012
Protocol: Traveling
4.0 mile(s)
Comments:     It was an overcast 34F hike in Oatka today. It was a very gloomy walk that seemed to embolden the birds to come out of hiding a bit more than recently. Walking along Brown Creeper Trail, I encountered Cedar Waxwings and robins, both species being relatively scarce in the park of late. A Pileated Woodpecker gave me a fleeting photo op in the woods of Black Billed Cuckoo Trail. As I made the final turn minutes before sunset on White Tail Trail to head back to the parking lot, cardinals and White-throated Sparrows started going into high alert and pouring out of the shrubs and flew back and forth across the trail in front of me. So as not to let all this effort go to waste, most of the sparrows landed on the locally prevalent Staghorn Sumacs and had quick meals of berries. As I returned to my car, a lone Canada Goose flew overhead, calling as if it was leading a flock of fifty.


House Finch

House Finch

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

American Robin

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

White-tailed Deer

White-throated Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

13 species


Canada Goose  1
Northern Flicker  2
Pileated Woodpecker  1
American Crow  3
Black-capped Chickadee  4
Tufted Titmouse  1
American Robin  3
Cedar Waxwing  4
White-throated Sparrow  7
Northern Cardinal  5
House Finch  1
American Goldfinch  1
House Sparrow  1


This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

Ontario Beach and Charlotte Pier • January 30


Ontario Beach and Charlotte Pier, Monroe, US-NY
Jan 30, 2012
Protocol: Incidental
Comments:     It was a mostly cloudy 29F noontime stop at Charlotte Pier. Long-tailed Duck numbers were way down with only a small, loose raft of about thirty ducks by the base of Summerville Pier. The rest of the water on either side of both piers was devoid of birds. Even gulls were sparse and far upstream of the piers. Thinking this lack of hunting opportunities boded ill for finding the Snowy Owl, I headed down Charlotte Pier, scanning all the usual perching locations. The new layer of snow plus ice cleats strapped to my shoes made the footing perfectly stable and comfortable. After about the sixth time scanning Summerville Pier from end to end, I finally found the Snowy tucked against the first post past the steps separating the two parts of the pier. From the base of the pier the owl was perfectly hidden and it was only after I had walked out some way that she was revealed. I was able to walk down far enough to be directly across from the Snowy, where I took my pictures and a video. She only looked at me once and clearly dismissed me in favor of searching for whatever meal may be floating nearby.


Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl

1 species


Snowy Owl  1


This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • January 29


Oatka Creek Park, Monroe, US-NY
Jan 29, 2012
Protocol: Traveling
5.7 mile(s)
Comments:     It was an intermittently sunny, cloudy, and snowy 28F hike in Oatka today. Chickadees, titmice, and nuthatches were singing at one point or another, and quite persistently at that. Woodpeckers were in relatively large numbers with the most interesting sighting being a Pileated Woodpecker eating Staghorn Sumac berries. A small group of bluebirds briefly passed in front of me along the dirt road from the parking lot to the woods. As I approached the creek from Warbler Loop, cardinals suddenly went into an alarm status and started pouring out of the shrubbery and tearing off for some supposedly safer location. I never discovered a cause. The creek water continues to rise and be fully opaque due to the fierce current. It may flood Trout Run Trail soon rather than wait for the spring thaw (though, perhaps, there will not be much to thaw this spring). In any event, there were no birds along creek, their needs being, perhaps, better met by more serene bodies of water. Other species were generally fleeting observations.


Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse

17 species


Canada Goose  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  3
Downy Woodpecker  5
Hairy Woodpecker  1
Pileated Woodpecker  2
Blue Jay  4
American Crow  7
Black-capped Chickadee  9
Tufted Titmouse  3
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
Eastern Bluebird  3
American Robin  3
European Starling  21
White-throated Sparrow  5
Northern Cardinal  11
American Goldfinch  2
House Sparrow  1


This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • January 28


Oatka Creek Park, Monroe, US-NY
Jan 28, 2012
Protocol: Traveling
5.6 mile(s)
Comments:     It was a cloudy with intermittent rain and snow 39F hike in Oatka today. It was another quiet midwinter walk, though there were some interesting finds. Actually, things started optimistically with the loud singing of a Carolina Wren as I exited my car in the parking lot. Things would quiet down afterwards. The drumming of a Pileated Woodpecker shattered the silence as I walked along Warbler Loop. Bushwhacking into the deep woods, I found the Pileated, hammering away in a manner that suggested more excavation for food rather than territorial defense. After taking some pictures, I continued my bushwhack towards the creek and discovered some very old trail blazes on the trees. The associated trail seemed long gone. The creek was very high, strong, and turbid. Along the fields of Black Billed Cuckoo Trail I came across a trio of bluebirds feeding on a large bunch of grapes. It may be another indication of the type of winter we've had that there are still copious amounts of fruit in the park. It would be quiet for the remainder of the hike.


Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

American Red Squirrel

Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird

10 species


Canada Goose  300
Pileated Woodpecker  1
American Crow  2
Black-capped Chickadee  3
Tufted Titmouse  1
White-breasted Nuthatch  2
Carolina Wren  1
Eastern Bluebird  3
White-throated Sparrow  2
American Goldfinch  1


This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • January 27


Oatka Creek Park, Monroe, US-NY
Jan 27, 2012
Protocol: Traveling
4.7 mile(s)
Comments:     It was an overcast with intermittent rain and snow 36F hike in Oatka today. A White-breasted Nuthatch greeted me at the entrance to the woods and a Pileated Woodpecker was already making its territorial calls before turning in for the evening. The walk was mostly devoid of birds except for a few isolated pockets: cardinals in Warblers Loop, chickadees in two or three places and the occasional squeal of a Northern Flicker. The creek was very high and current very strong. All the swampy areas I came across appeared to be near maximum water capacity, and the base of Maple Hill was under water in places. The tiny waterfall along Brown Thrasher Trail was at full volume and strength. These are all in stark contrast to last year when most of the water was bound up in the snowpack.


White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch

Northern Cardinal

Small Waterfall along Brown Thrasher Trail

9 species


Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  2
Pileated Woodpecker  1
Black-capped Chickadee  6
Tufted Titmouse  2
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
White-throated Sparrow  3
Northern Cardinal  3
House Sparrow  1


This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Charlotte Pier • January 26


Over lunch I stopped by Charlotte Pier to look for the Snowy Owl, but she wasn't to be found. Instead, I took pictures of a passing Red-breasted Merganser. As I was heading back to the car, a Ring-billed Gull dropped down right by me, give me a perfect photo-op. I had to take advantage of it!


Red-breasted Merganser

Red-breasted Merganser

Ring-billed Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Ring-billed Gull

Oatka Creek Park • January 25


Oatka Creek Park, Monroe, US-NY
Jan 25, 2012
Protocol: Traveling
4.6 mile(s)
Comments:     It was an overcast 32F hike in Oatka today. Despite the relatively warm temperature and lack of wind, it was a penetratingly cold afternoon. It appeared to affect the birds, too, as they were virtually nonexistent. The quiet was broken only once along Warbler Loop when a small flock of cardinals boiled up from the shrubbery to look at me before disappearing again. White-throated Sparrows 'seeped' from the shrubs throughout the park, though rarely showed themselves. Even the crows seemed somewhat subdued. The only woodpecker I found was on a feeder in the private property adjacent to the parking lot.


White-tail Deer

Canada Geese

White-tail Deer

7 species


Canada Goose  100
Red-bellied Woodpecker  1
American Crow  4
Black-capped Chickadee  1
White-throated Sparrow  12
Northern Cardinal  7
American Goldfinch  4


This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ontario Beach and Charlotte Pier • January 25


Ontario Beach and Charlotte Pier, Monroe, US-NY
Jan 25, 2012
Protocol: Incidental
Comments:     It was an overcast 31F noontime stop at Charlotte Pier. Long-tailed Duck numbers continue to grow with the collected sum near the base of the pier in the 100+ range. Apart from Mallards, no other duck species were spotted. Scanning the area, I finally found the Snowy Owl at the end of Charlotte Pier. The pier's surface was a mixture of dry and icy areas. A crouching approach would have been impossible with the ice, so I settled for diagnostic shots from about a third of the way along the pier. As I slowly moved along, I glanced down the channel towards the lake and noticed an isolated female Long-tailed Duck. Almost immediately forgetting the duck, I resumed taking pictures of the Snowy when the owl suddenly crouched down and took a laser focus in my direction. A bit concerned by the gaze, it all became clear when the owl launched and glided to the channel and snatched the Long-tail cleanly with its talons and took off for Summerville Pier with the duck's body swaying like a grotesque pendulum. I recovered from my startle to get pictures of the owl's approach to Summerville Pier and landing behind the one shrub near the end of the pier. It was there she started to have lunch. Though at range, the pictures turned out not half bad.


Click the pictures for larger versions!


Long-tailed Duck

Long-tailed Duck



Video of the Long-tailed Ducks: http://youtu.be/bI_Ez7oXZ3w




Snowy Owl near the end of Charlotte Pier

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl just spotting lunch ...

Snowy Owl - Locked and Loaded!

Snowy Owl with Long-tailed Duck

Snowy Owl with Long-tailed Duck

Snowy Owl with Long-tailed Duck

Snowy Owl with Long-tailed Duck

Snowy Owl with Long-tailed Duck

Snowy Owl with Long-tailed Duck


1 species


Snowy Owl  1


This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)