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Sterling Forest 5-29-11

posted Jun 3, 2011, 1:54 PM by Arie Gilbert   [ updated Jun 3, 2011, 2:03 PM ]
Spring and fall share the attribute of variable weather. What appeared to be bad weather was not that bad at all, and the overcast certainly helped keep the temperatures down. It was either the weather or reports of “bear attacks” that kept some at home.

But for those of us who attended it was another excellent day. Warbling and Yellow-throated Vireos greeted us at Indian Lake as well as our first Rough-winged Swallows. Moving on down the road we chanced upon a Turkey who posed obligingly in the middle of the road.

The birding really picked up at Ironwood road. At the lake we found the usual suspects such as Phoebe and Kingbird, as well as Oriole, Yellow Warbler, and Canada Geese. With some movement that caught my eye, we spied a tree with a whole lot of activity. Cedar Waxwings, Indigo Bunting, Robins, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Goldfinch. All in the same tree. Phew!

Walking up Ironwood, we heard Cerulean and Hooded Warblers in numerous locations. It was interesting that we would hear them together, rather than one here and the other over there. Water was everywhere, and the beavers up the road have two dams across the stream, but neither it nor the Louisiana Waterthrush we had last year made an appearance. We spied a Broad-winged Hawk fly overhead, and then returned to the cars to go to the end of the road and hike the power line cut.

On the trail birds were singing everywhere. The Prairie Warblers were very obliging and sung from obvious perches all along the trail, while the Hooded warblers remained more elusive. A Chestnut-sided protected it’s favorite Dogwood, and Golden-wing Warblers sang from the base of other Dogwoods. Field Sparrows called from near the top, and Indigo Buntings cris-crossed our path.


Back down at the lot we met up with Carol who stayed behind due to the high water level in the stream. She was not disappointed as several Golden-winged Warblers were chasing each other about, and perching most accommodatingly affording nice photographic opportunities. 

After a lunch stop at the visitors center where the ranger on duty showed us all the carpenter bees he has caught for release elsewhere, { they eat the beautiful wooden structure } we made a few more stops and heard Wood Thrush { very scarce this year for some reason } and Pileated Woodpecker.

Departing from the usual plans, we instead headed to Wallkill NWR in hopes of seeing the reported Black-bellied Whistling Ducks. The midday heat made walking about less than desirable for some, but those that did walk added a bunch of nice species including Orchard Oriole, Semipalmated Plovers, and an immature Bald Eagle. No ducks though. Oh well, I guess the refuge isn’t all it’s quacked-up to be.