Monday, April 19, 2010

Goose Pond Birding

Tic-tic, tic-tic-tic, tic-tic, tic-tic-tic. Unfortunately when Rob, Mary Lou, Betty, and I walked out into the marsh to listen for Yellow Rails on Sunday night the only birds we heard were Henslow's Sparrows.

After arriving at Goose Pond at about 6 on Sunday night, Rob and I drove into Greene Sullivan State Forest to set up camp. As we quickly set up camp we heard our first Warbling Vireo of the year singing in the campground. We were also promptly asked, by another camper, if we wanted any beers but we figured we should hold off until after our birding for the night.

We arrived at the biggest body of water on the property of Goose Pond and were quickly rewarded with a small group of Cattle Egrets. After watching many yellowlegs flying into the marsh to roost for the night, we spotted a Marbled Godwit flying towards our position. It flew over allowing great but brief views.

Marbled Godwit

As the sun set we started hearing the familiar "peent" of the American Woodcock. After about 5 minutes they started performing their aerial display. Since we wanted to try for Yellow Rail we moved into some fields/marshes that have good habitat. While listening for Yellow Rail we were able to hear many Henslow's Sparrows along with one Virginia Rail. Unfortunately the Yellow Rail was not meant to be.

Most people believe that the rooster is supposed to act as an alarm clock but for us it was a pair of Barred Owls. At about 6am they started calling from right above our tents. Soon after we pulled ourselves away from our warm sleeping bags to drive to our starting location. While driving down the road we heard our first King Rail of the year. After only a short wait we were able to get scope views of an adult King Rail that was interacting with a Sora. Both of these species came out into the open for about five minutes. Unfortunately this was before the three birders we were meeting (Mary Lou, Betty, and Ted) arrived.

Both Black-bellied and Fulvous Whistling Ducks had been found in one unit the day before so we headed that way. When we arrived many ducks were in view. After sorting through them we found a pair of Ring-necked Ducks and a single Ruddy Duck. But after 30 minutes we still hadn't seen any Whistling-Ducks. We also walked into the backside of the unit without any luck. However we were able to get good looks at Wilson's Snipe. After walking across the road to another unit of Goose Pond, we quickly refound the Marbled Godwit from the day before. We were also able to watch six Black-necked Stilts along with a mixture of about 50 Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs. And after a few minutes a flock of 14 White Pelicans drifted over.

Ruddy Duck

We needed to pack up our camp so we headed into the state forest. We were treated to singing Warbling Vireo, Northern Parula, and Prothonotary, Yellow-throated, and Prairie Warblers. And a Red-headed Woodpecker went by right next to our tents.


Savannah Sparrows

1 comment:

Chad said...

Looks like an awesome time... got to get down there soon.