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Sharon Springs Trip Report June 27, 2010

posted Oct 12, 2010, 2:00 PM by Arie Gilbert   [ updated Oct 12, 2010, 2:05 PM ]
by Arie Gilbert

QCBC had it’s Sharon Springs trip focusing on upstate specialties in the counties of Schoharie and Montgomery.

The day began with Wild Turkeys along side the NY Thru-way, and upon turning into Sharon Springs, we had Yellow-bellied Sapsucker on the way to the first stop at  the intersection of Goodrich and Kilts Roads. A previously reliable nesting location for the Henslow’s Sparrow that is a rare breeder in NYS – this year they were not in attendance. As advised by several upstate locals, the fields in question have gone through enough succession to be no longer favored by the HESP, or they simply moved on. Nevertheless, we tried to listen for them as we had a full company of excellent birders with exceptional hearing. Oh well, if you can’t see-lick them, join them.

Making up for this miss, we had a nice company of other sparrows including Savannah, Field, Eastern Towhee, Bobolink, and Grasshopper. Turkeys were also seen in these fields and we had a nice male Harrier. The Grasshopper Sparrow was exceptionally cooperative, posing on a boulder and in a tree for all to gasp and slaver at. It was seen in the field east of the driveway of the first property west of Goodrich road. The homeowners came out and said hello, curious about the “crowd” that is unusual for this part of town. As is almost always the case, they were happy to know there were interesting birds in their fields, and did not mind our presence at all.

If you plan on visiting here or other similar locations, we can keep this circumstance ongoing by NOT TRESPASSING. Don’t do it! It is more likely that property owners will be unaccommodating if you pi$$ them off first, ask permission second. Not to mention their remembering the next time other birders show up.

Continuing to our next destination in Ames, we took Kilts road to Budd Street where we gazed at the beautiful vista of Budd Hill, and had more Bobolinks and sparrows as well as Red-eyed Vireo and Ovenbird. At the end of the road, we had Bluebirds by the homes east of the intersection, and then we went west on CR 88/ West Ames Road past MacPhail Road ~ 1 mile where a horse farm on the left/south side of the road had those characteristic horse fences in the field. Our group saw as many as four target Upland Sandpipers, and heard them calling!

After enjoying this sighting {that soothed the sting of our dip at Blue Chip Farms earlier this year} we were notified that the Mississippi Kites in Root were being seen at that moment, so we headed there without pause for our final target.

Arriving at the intersection of C R92/Mapletown Road & Donato Road, we soon had one of the kites soaring over us. This location proved to be a good spot to view the bird from, but it was also well seen a short distance ~500? back west up Mapletown at the first mailbox #950.

Also explored was south along Donato road up to where the road turns east, where there was Wood Thrush and Veery, and good views of the soaring Kite. Here we saw one bird as it almost effortlessly eluded harassment by Red-wing Blackbirds. Later on, from way up in the clouds we watched as a second Kite came down and into view! Two Kites!

Of particular note with regards to Mississippi Kite, our club has been remarkably lucky in sighting this species. On two separate occasions in the past we had one in Sullivan County at Basherkill, and recently we spotted one in Westchester County at Ward Pound Ridge. This makes five individuals in New York state on four club trips. Wow!

We had a nice turn out with 12 members and guests beginning with the delightful happenstance of no traffic on this 200+ mile day trip. The weather also held up despite some threatening forecasts making for a spectacular day to be outdoors, and a total for the day of 60+/- species including two of our three targets. Hey, two out of three ain’t bad!

Hopefully, Henslow’s Sparrow will be located again in this area. In the future we plan to do another trip of this sort, and perhaps we will go further afield in NY so we may get Henslow’s Sparrow, as well as breeding Vesper Sparrow and Sedge Wren amongst others.