Thank goodness we had good weather this weekend, albeit a bit chilly.
We had approximately 20 participants. The following folks helped out:
Putnam Highlands Audubon Society
Ryan J Bass, Kyle Bardwell, Brian Rubino, Perry Pitt
Constitution Marsh Audubon Society & Sanctuary
Tiffany Green, Jessica Andreone
We saw or heard a total of 31 species of birds, representing 169 individuals.
- Approximately 80 Tree Swallows and 20 Barn Swallows were actively foraging on the wing. These birds are incredibly fast and agile, banking and pursuing insects in flight. Their dizzying behavior went on without pause, even skimming the surface of the water on the wing for a quick drink.
- A pair of Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers, early Spring migrant, put on quite a show along the trail. These tiny slate blue and white birds were very vocal, chattering away in a series of short high pitched nasal calls.
- The ornately plumaged Wood Duck was seen on several occasions throughout the morning's walk. Early in the morning, they were seen flying up and down Indian Brook, paired off, perhaps visiting probable nesting locations. A cavity nester, a Wood Duck will also use a traditional bird box as well, albeit one with large enough accommodations. They will nest up to a mile away from water, but when the chicks hatch, they'll find their way to the water's edge with some encouragement. Later in the morning, we observed an interesting behavior: several Wood Duck began calling and circling the marsh. With each passing lap, more would join, ultimately creating a flock of (11) birds, as if forming a Conga line.
- At the very end of the walk, the hardiest participants enjoyed a raptor show. We observed an adult Bald Eagle, a Northern Harrier, (2) Osprey, (2) Turkey Vulture, (3) Black Vulture, and (3) Broad-winged Hawks. The latter species is a significant and welcome sign of Spring for birders. These hawks are migratory and can form tremendous flocks, called kettles, that can reach upwards of tens of thousands of individuals. They overwinter in Mexico and Central America, migrating to their breeding grounds in the Eastern US and northward into Canada. Broad-winged Hawks are documented breeding birds in Clarence Fahnestock State Park.