Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Woodcock! Woodcock! Woodcock!

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker holes

Joey picking through finches

There be Woodcocks here...
Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula
Winter Wren Troglodytes hiemalis
Hermit Thrush Catharus guttatus
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
Purple Finch Carpodacus purpureus
Female Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis
White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys
drab White-throated Sparrow Zonotrichia albicollis
bright White-throated Sparrow Zonotrichia albicollis
White-tailed Deer Odocoileus virginianus
Eastern Chipmunk Tamias striatus
Eastern Comma Polygonia comma
Epic trip up north, April 18-20, 2016
  Yes that’s right. I saw an American Woodcock! I went up north to Prévost to hang out at Joey’s for a few days, and the birding was solid. “The Woodcock Incident of ‘16” was one of those serendipitous birding events that you remember for a while. Joey and I went out for a digestive constitutional at about 9:30pm, and a few blocks from his house we heard a nasal, Nighthawk-like ‘Peeent!’ coming from a roadside field. “Woodcock! Woodcock! Woodcock!” I hissed while hopping up and down like a crazy person. The sun was fully down, and the field was country dark, so we didn’t see it that night. I rose at 5:30 the following morning to have a go, but I knew it was a long shot, as dusk really seems to be the time to see them. That night we returned to the field and set up a silent stakeout, and after almost an hour of waiting, we heard the display flight twitter on our right at 8:30. We froze. Seconds later, a ‘Peeent!’ from our left. Two birds! We ended up seeing one bird in display flight several times, and got sketchy blobby views of the stationary bird calling on the ground. Terrible, dim views, but still a spectacular moment. As soon as I figure out how to, I’ll post up the sound recordings I got. Woodcock!
  Early on the 19th, we went to Les Sentiers Écologiques de Saint Hippolyte for a hike. We probably should have brought snowshoes, as one step off the trail and kapow you’re up to your hips in snow. Tiring, but entertaining. Ruffed Grouse along the trail, and singing Winter Wrens were the obvious highlights.
  Back at Joey’s, the staggering numbers and variety of birds drawn to his backyard feeder had me glued to the back window literally for hours. Terrible houseguest. Woodcock!

Prévost, April 18-20
Canada Goose – 45+
Wood Duck – 2
Mallard – 5
Turkey Vulture – 7
American Woodcock – 2
Ring-billed Gull – 8
Rock Dove – 4
Mourning Dove – 3
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – 1
Downy Woodpecker – 2
Hairy Woodpecker – 2
Northern Flicker – 2
Pileated Woodpecker- 1
Eastern Phoebe – 2
American Crow – 6
Black-capped Chickadee – 12+
White-breasted Nuthatch – 1
Red-breasted Nuthatch – 1 heard
Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 1 picking bugs off a pine with a near-hover maneuver
Hermit Thrush – 1 pair ghosting along the forest floor at dawn
American Robin – 10+
European Starling – 6
Chipping Sparrow - 1
American Tree Sparrow – 6+
Song Sparrow – 8+
White-crowned Sparrow – 1
White-throated Sparrow - 2 (one drab 'Tan-striped' and one bright 'White-striped' spotted on different days)
Dark-eyed Junco – 12+
Red-winged Blackbird – 4
Common Grackle – 9
Brown-headed Cowbird – 1
American Goldfinch – 20+
Pine Siskin – 35+
Common Redpoll – 12+
Purple Finch - 11

Les Sentiers Écologiques de Saint Hippolyte, April 19
Turkey Vulture – 3
(Northern Goshawk – 1 possibly heard)
Red-shouldered Hawk – 1
Ruffed Grouse – 2
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – 3
Downy Woodpecker – 1
Hairy Woodpecker – 2
American Crow – 6
Common Raven – 2
Tree Swallow – 1
Black-capped Chickadee – 20+
Brown Creeper – 1
White-breasted Nuthatch – 4
Red-breasted Nuthatch – 1 heard
Winter Wren – 2 singing up in the treetops – not where I would expect to find this species!
Dark-eyed Junco – 8
Pine Siskin – 25+
(+ two Eastern Painted Turtles and two Eastern Commas)

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