Saturday, May 18, 2013

Back at Bashakill

Today was another AMNH trip to Bashakill, and I was excited to get back there.  This was my first repeat trip with the museum, and it was really interesting to see it from a different perspective.  I could see how much I have learned in the last year, both about birding and about being outdoors in general.  No, I still cannot identify poison ivy.  But I do have clothes that are super-functional and comfortable, so I wore long pants and hiking boots this time.  Anyway, the place was just as gorgeous as I remembered, and if anything we saw even more birds this time.

When we got off the bus, we heard a chorus of little lovelies who wanted to be heard and not seen.  There was a bunch of flitting and an oriole that just would not stay put long enough for a nice picture, along with one of the regulars of the day, a least flycatcher.  Then we saw this warbling vireo, which sounds kind of like an American robin sped up and just a little crazier.

warbling vireo
 Pretty quickly after heading off on the path we found this great blue heron. I was all proud of myself for spotting it, but either there are several there or this guy really gets around - we saw him flying about a few times, it seemed like he was checking in on our group every once in a while like a good host.
great blue heron
 There he goes now!
great blue heron
 A veery!  I love these guys.  They always seem to have a soft personality that matches their coloring.
Another star of the day - yellow warbler!  We saw several of these and heard many many more.  It's a great day when you get to say, "Oh, it's just another yellow warbler."
yellow warbler
 This kingbird looked like it was starting a nest.  Good luck buddy!
eastern kingbird
 This redstart came right over and stayed quite close to us for a good bit of time, I was surprised.  I guess he's just not impressed with the city folk.
American redstart
 We did not see a pileated woodpecker, but we saw its work.  Holy moly, those guys are serious!
tree after a pileated woodpecker visited
 This little lady was really hard to get a good look at.  Come one out, you're gorgeous!
common yellow-throat female 
 "Eagle!  Bald eagle!  Flying! ......... Two of them!"  This is about the best thing you can hear the guide say on a bird walk.  We all abandoned whatever we were looking at (probably a yellow warbler but it's hard to say for sure) and ran over, and it was true - two adult bald eagles, soaring over the trees, in front of a mountain covered in forest.  They were gorgeous!  We jostled and ooh-ed and aah-ed until the eagles tired of putting on a show for us and left.  What a sight!
bald eagle
 Here she is, the female version of the red-winged blackbird.  She is a pretty little vixen who enjoys confusing birders.  It is now my policy when confused by a bird -  I am not making this up - to check if it's another female red-winged blackbird confusing me yet again.
red-winged blackbird, female
 There were of course snakes on this trip, at least 2 garter snakes and this water snake.  I even spotted one of the snakes!  There was a moving thing near the path, and as I checked out the movement I saw the tip of a snake tail disappear.  Paul found it but it was another garter snake, and he had already picked up another one, so he didn't particularly want this one.  The water snake he did not pick up, explaining, "They will bite you.  And they will draw blood if they do bite you."  This one was just under a little footbridge we crossed, looking like it couldn't care less if a bunch of New Yorkers took pictures of it.
water snake
 There was a mystery mammal, quite possibly a raccoon, sleeping at the base of a bush across the water from us.  We were hoping it would wake up so we could see what it was, but it was extremely dedicated to sleeping.
mystery mammal
 Eagles!  At the end of the path, there were again scoped set up on the eagle nest and the osprey nest.  In this picture, there is an adult eagle (with the white head) on a branch, and to its right is a juvie in the nest, by the trunk of the tree.
bald eagle
Here it is from my phone, through the scope.  Missed the juvie though!  I should really get one of the iphone-scope adapters for trips like this, it would be so much easier.  
bald eagle
 There were tree swallows there too, just a few, by their boxes.
tree swallow
 After our walk we enjoyed a wine tasting and having lunch at the winery, with great live music!  We also discovered that there is a pizza place nearby that delivers, giving us ideas for possibilities for next year's trip.  :-)  It was a great day, and a quiet bus ride back to the city!  :-)

1 comment:

  1. Splendid post! So glad to have been with the group!