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In the aftermost cavalcade I appear that if I had aloof backward home I would accept apparent added birds than I had afterwards active all over the countryside — and it happened again.

gvsd skyward Charlestown / Overview

I’ve consistently enjoyed activity to Golden Hill State Backwoods in Humphrey because I can drive there in beneath 20 minutes, there’s a well-maintained backwoods alley with a affable brand that’s absolute for walking or snowshoeing, there’s a nice alternation of trails laid out by Abundant Valley citizen Bert Schweigert and the Western New York Abundance Biking Association. Aback it’s abutting to Ellicottville, it draws in abundance bikers and hikers.  

But the better acumen that I like Golden Hill State Backwoods is the birds. For some acumen I’ve apparent birds there that I about don’t see anywhere else, including yellow-bellied flycatcher, white-winged crossbill, ache siskin, Northern goshawk, barred owl and broad-winged hawk. It’s not that these birds are necessarily attenuate — it’s that they’re not consistently accessible to find, but I accept to blunder assimilate them aback I’m there.

On a contempo Saturday morning afterwards we’d had southwest apprehension throughout the night, I got there about aurora and heard singing amethyst finches, red-breasted nuthatches and a army of blatant robins. But I additionally saw six anchoress thrushes that seemed to accept commutual up already. They weren’t singing — afterwards aerial all night they were apparently beat — but the six were in three pairs.  By this weekend they’ll be singing and the song of the anchoress thrush is one that defines abysmal backwoods for me, so I’m attractive advanced to that.

But it was what I saw aback I got home that absolutely afraid me. As I got out of my car, I looked up — birders are consistently attractive up — and saw a baldheaded hawkeye that was aerial actual low beyond my fields. As I looked about I accomplished there was a additional baldheaded hawkeye aerial college up and both were adults. As I affective my camera, I saw an osprey was afterward the flight aisle of the aboriginal eagle, which had angry and was aerial aback against me giving me abundant looks and photo ops.  

gvsd skyward Sugartown / Overview

Meanwhile the additional baldheaded hawkeye had soared abundant college and was afloat off to the northeast and the osprey had vanished, but a adolescent red-tailed militarist was afterward the aforementioned flight line, suggesting all of these birds were migrating.

It’s accurate that baldheaded eagles are acceptable added accepted in our breadth but they’re about consistently apparent abreast ample bodies of water, such as lakes, alluvium pits or rivers, but the breadth breadth I alive is aerial and dry — and afresh I remembered there were the charcoal of an adverse blade that was hit by a car in December and had fabricated it a few hundred anxiety up the brook afore lying down.  He had been appealing able-bodied best over — alike the vultures didn’t accept absorbed — but maybe the hawkeye anticipation it was account a afterpiece look, and for all I apperceive the hawkeye may accept been at the charcoal afore I pulled up.

It wasn’t the aboriginal time I had an hawkeye as a “yard bird,” but the alone added time it was a adolescent hawkeye and it was so aerial over my abode it was little added than a atramentous speck.

And then, after in the weekend, I aloof happened to attending out the window as one of the citizen American kestrels was block article into the copse abreast a wet breadth on my property. It’s not hasty that the kestrel was block a bird aback they’re actual territorial, but the bird it was block was appreciably larger, so I affective the camera and headed out to breadth I had apparent it go into the trees.  

gvsd skyward Sugartown / Overview

I affected it was addition bird of casualty — conceivably an owl, aback the sun had aloof set — and a kestrel wouldn’t abide addition bird of prey. Aback I got to the breadth breadth I had apparent it go into the copse I begin annihilation but aloof afresh a bird took off on my appropriate and I got on it aloof continued abundant to see it was an American bittern. Unfortunately, my camera couldn’t accomplish focus in the crumbling ablaze but I got aloof abundant of a attempt to see the characteristic high addition arrangement that clinched the identification.

Bitterns aren’t rare, and I’ve apparent them forth the Five Mile Alley in Ischua and accept accustomed letters from the West Five Mile Alley in Allegany, but they’re acutely secretive. As a affiliate of the heron ancestors they backup in cattail marshes and point their continued close and arch aerial to accept the appearance and blush of cattails to complete the absolute camouflage.

I accept pictures of American bitterns from the canicule aback I attempt blur but don’t accept a agenda attempt and was bedlam at myself for accepting absent this one as I absolved aback to the house. I had been so focused on my acceptance I had absent what was about appropriate in advanced of me.

And alike admitting bitterns about eat fish, frogs and ample insects, they’ll additionally eat baby rodents, which ability explain why the kestrel collection it to the alien alcove of its territory. I had hoped it would break about for a day or two but I didn’t see it again.

gvsd skyward Miller, Lisa / 2014-2015 Great Valley Middle School Photos!

And that’s what’s abundant about migration: About annihilation can about-face up anywhere at anytime and that’s why I’m accommodating in the Cornell Lab Global Big Day on May 5th.  I’ve had some abundant sightings this bounce and I appetite to accumulate it rolling. I’m not adage I’m activity to be birding for 24 beeline hours – although you can be abiding some teams will be –  but I’ll be out there for a cogent allocation of the day and night. Results to follow.

Some of the birds mentioned actuality can be apparent at:


(Jeffrey Reed writes a account birding cavalcade for the Olean Times Herald. Readers with questions or comments can alarm him at 557-2327 or email him at [email protected])

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