Sunday, August 23, 2009


The morning started out warm and humid with a light rain falling. I couldn't resist going out and seeing what was going on. August can be a month full of interesting finds when it comes to birds, the past few trips out into the field certainly proved that. I stayed close to home today and birded the Partridge Run area of Berne.

White-throated Sparrows nest up here at the higher elevations and then head down into the valleys to spend the winter.

At one of my stops I spotted a Great-horned Owl keeping a close eye on me. Daytime sightings of owls are always are always a great opportunity to study these nocturnal birds a little closer.

So there I was, looking over a Least Flycatcher making sure it wasn't a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher when I saw another bird flitting around in one of the old apple trees that the state had planted years ago. I would have loved to have seen how wide my eyes got when I finally focused on it and realized what it was. It's a Cape May Warbler! What made this one especially nice was that it was an adult male in it's fall plumage.

It was lightly raining at this point and it would have been nice if the sun was out, but I sure wasn't about to complain.Cape May Warblers only pass through these parts during migration, they nest up north (mainly Canada). They nest in spruce bogs and their breeding success is directly tied to their favorite food source the spruce budworm.

The bird was very cooperative as it slowly and methodically searched the apple tree for food. Fruit trees such as this are usually loaded with insects and this year looks to be a banner year for apples as well. The deer must be licking their chops.

By mid-morning the rain had stopped and things started to brighten up a bit. This Scarlet Tanager probably felt right at home in the moist humid forest. It will soon be leaving for the tropical rain forests of central and south america to spend the winter.

I spotted this Nashville Warbler in an alder thicket. It was busily catching bugs and caterpillars to fatten up for the long journey ahead of it. Hard to say if this is a migrant or not as a few do nest here on the state land.

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