I didn’t realize I hadn’t updated my blog since last May! Oh, my! Well, these past two weeks have been great for birders. My husband and I have come across new warblers we hadn’t seen before, the Nashville Warbler and Cape May Warbler. We’ve seen a lot of warblers these past couple of weeks as well as other birds. The list includes:
Palm Warblers (Scott Park and Presque Isle. They were so numerous last week but not so many now.)
Black and White Warblers (lots of them) (Scott Park and Presque Isle)
Magnolia Warblers (Scott Park and Presque Isle)
Canada Warblers (Scott Park)
Hooded Warblers (Scott Park)
Nashville Warbler (Fry’s Landing at Presque Isle)
Cape May Warbler (Thompson Circle at Presque Isle)
Northern Waterthrush (Thompson C at Presque Isle)
Baltimore Orioles (Scott Park and Presque Isle)
Black-throated Green Warbler (Scott Park)
Indigo Buntings (Scott Park and Presque Isle)
Common Yellowthroat (Fry’s Landing at Presque Isle)
Great Crested Flycatcher (Scott Park)
Cedar Waxwings (Scott Park)
Bluebirds (Scott Park)
Last year we saw lots of Black-throated Blue Warblers but we can’t seem to find them this year. I’m hoping we’ll come across some this week before they are gone.
Female Magnolia Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Chestnut Sided Warbler
Great Crested Flycatcher
Most of my photos are from my camcorder.
My husband and I had a great time on Presque Isle Saturday and Sunday. The warblers are everywhere! We saw two lifer birds, the Black-throated Blue Warbler and the Great Crested Flycatcher. The rest I’ve seen before but I still got excited seeing them again. Most are around such a short time and if you don’t get out there to see them you probably won’t see them again until the following year. They do migrate back in the fall but the colors aren’t nearly as pretty as they are now in their breeding feathers.
Saturday we hung out at Fry’s Landing. That’s where we saw the Yellow-throated Warbler the weekend before. This time it was filled with Palm Warblers. We also spotted some White-throated Sparrows in the bushes and a few Chestnut-sided Warblers. The little Gold-crowned Kinglets were there to greet us. They are so small and bounce around and seem curious. I heard some bird calls that I couldn’t place and recorded them. I’ll try to find out what birds I was hearing. It got a bit chilly with the wind blowing and it sure didn’t seem it was nearly as warm as the forecast had predicted. We left hoping that the forecast for Sunday would be wrong. On the way out we stopped at the parking area for Dead Pond Trail, across from the Thompson Bay parking. The bushes along the parking loop were full of Yellow-rumped Warblers (butter butts.)
The forecast wasn’t wrong, it rained, but there were several hours in the afternoon it stopped or just spitted drops so we went out to look for more warblers. We stopped at the different parking areas on the way at Presque Isle and watched the ducks. Not many left but we still saw two loons out there. We spotted a canvas back, some scaup and small group of ruddys are still around.
We pulled into the Niagara Launch area and walked behind the bathrooms to where they band birds. We didn’t see much except White-throated Sparrows and Palm Warblers. My husband spotted a Rose-breasted Grosbeak but it was gone by the time I got there. A Downy Woodpecker let me get really close to it.
The wind was blowing a pretty good clip. But between the paved path and the road at the entrance to Niagara Launch we spotted Chestnut-sided Warblers and a Black-throated Blue Warbler.
The Black-throated Blue Warbler was a lifer for my husband and I. We just never happened to see one before. So this was exciting to me and they are really handsome birds.
We moved on to Fry’s Landing and spotted a pair of Wood Ducks leaving the area. My camera just started to focus as the male was almost out of sight.
Again the bushes were full of Palm Warblers. We spotted an Osprey in a tree and watched it fly away. We took the little paths around the area. Where we saw the Yellow-throated Warbler the week before,
we didn’t see any birds except for the Gold Crowned Kinglets. The birds must have moved into the more protected areas to get out of the wind. We headed down a path under a canopy of trees and then spotted another Black-throated Blue Warbler. Some bird was calling out and we couldn’t figure out what it was. We finally spotted it and looked it up in our bird book. It was a Great Crested Flycatcher. That was another lifer for us. We’ve probably seen them flying around and but never questioned what they were. It wasn’t shy about making it’s loud call near us. Just as we were getting ready to leave, a most vivid male Redstart bounced on the bushes in front of us. I love Redstarts!
We left Fry’s Landing and parked over by Thompson Bay again. It was spitting light rain drops but we decided to take a walk in on the trail to see what we could spot. The Yellow-rumped Warblers were all over the bushes again near the parking loop and some White-crowned Sparrows eating some cracked corn someone had piled on the side of the parking area. We didn’t spot much along the trail except for an Eastern Towhee. We headed home but I can’t wait for a day without rain to go again.
My husband and I ran around Presque Isle today during the sunshine break between rainstorms. It was warm and awesome on the peninsula. The loons were still seen on the bay and there are still some red-breasted mergansers and ruddy ducks to entertain people.
We drove back to Fry’s Landing and walked the little trails back where they bird band. After several minutes the birds started moving around again in the trees and bushes and we spotted the cute golden crowned kinglets. We saw one yellow-rumped warbler and later spotted a yellow-throated warbler. I was able to get a few photos. I’m just loving that the warblers are starting to come through the area in their migration. Though the yellow-throated warbler is a bit far north of its normal summer territory.
If you want to see a Red-headed Woodpecker walk the Ridge Trail at Presque Isle State Park. We spotted this one not far from where Marsh Trail and Ridge Trail Cross. You can park across from the lighthouse and take Sidewalk Trail until you come to Marsh Trail, turn right, cross through the marsh (on the trail of course) and as the trail starts to go uphill, turn left onto Ridge Trail. It’s an easy walk and not very far. Keep your eyes open. We saw lots of different kinds of warblers in the thickets on the sides of the marshes on both sides of Ridge Trail. I’ll talk about them in a future post. Below is the video I took of the pretty Red-headed Woodpecker. You may have to pause the video and let it load. I just posted a smaller, lesser quality video below the HD video (if you click on the 720HD option on the player) for those with slower connections, see bottom video.
Last year was the first time my husband and I saw a loon on Presque Isle Bay. We had heard they are there but we had never spotted them. We both were thrilled to see them. Saturday we finally spotted them again. There were two but they didn’t seem to be together and they were both males. They dive so it is hard to keep track of them as they can come up quite a distance from where they went down. That head profile is easy to spot if they aren’t too far out in the water. We returned Sunday and took this short video.
Every weekend we visit Presque Isle State Park in Erie, PA. As the seasons change so do the animals and birds we see. My husband and I saw the Great-horned owl nesting last week but I didn’t have my camera with me. This time I brought it and got a little footage. She is just sitting on the nest, looking a bit bored. But for us, it is always exciting to see these wonderful birds.
The swan that died that I showed you video and photos of in my last couple of posts is not one of the pair we see at Presque Isle (unless there are more than one pair that has been hanging around.) We cruised Presque Isle today and saw there was some open water near Beach 11 and took a look. There was a pair of swans in the water. I’m glad the dead swan wasn’t one of this pair. We really enjoy watching them.
My husband and I like to take a drive on Presque Isle at least once each week. We always see something interesting. Yesterday we came upon a swan sitting in the middle of the icy road near Thompson Bay circle. We stopped the car and I got out to see if I could coax it to the side of the road so it wouldn’t get hit. It really blended into the road and snow. It slowly walked to the side and couldn’t get far off the road because it was injured or too weak to get across the snow. It was a beautiful bird. We don’t know our swans too well but it looks like it was a Tundra (but it didn’t have that yellow mark on his bill) or perhaps a young Mute Swan that didn’t have it’s hump on the bill yet? Let me know if you can identify. We reported it to the park ranger. We don’t know its fate.
Last Saturday my husband and I attended the Presque Isle Geo-cache Bash. The park looked just beautiful! This was our first geocaching group event ever and we really enjoyed it. There were several temporary caches put out and 5 permanent ones. We didn’t have much problem finding any of the caches except the one at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC) and those that had gone missing. My husband’s 6th sense worked great except for the cache at the TREC. We eventually found it but we wasted a lot of time on that one. I lead the way to the caches holding the GPSr and when we get close my husband normally zeros in on it like a bloodhound but the TREC building was causing the signal to wander. We had a problem with the last one we went for on the beach and couldn’t find it and we were out of time and had to head back. We made it back to the Pavilion before the 3 o’clock deadline. It turns out that particular cache had gone missing. We didn’t have time to get to the one at Gull Point because of our problem with the TREC cache (and a long lunch 🙂
We met some really nice people and their families and everyone had a good time. There were so many more people there than I had expected and the ones putting on the event did a great job. People came from PA, New York and Ohio to participate. I’m looking forward to the next one.
Since I haven’t been able to get down to the Erie Wildlife Refuge for a while I thought I’d post something closer to my home until I get get some video and photos of the refuge. I took this video on Saturday, April 25, 2009. So far we have only seen the one.
Here is the video of the Great-horned Owlet. The jerky places are where I didn’t do a transition between clips. There are a few spots that look like the mother was feeding the baby. (there is no sound on this video)
Actually I didn’t render it in the best format, I over zoomed into the digital zoom and it was pretty windy that moved the tripod some and it’s 2:30 AM and I don’t want to fix it. Excuses, excuses!
Also check out http://www.eriesargonaut.net/blog and look at past video posts of the wildlife in NW Pennsylvania.