Braddock Bay – Not just hawks!!!!

15 05 2011

Cape May Warbler - Ryan Kayhart

So if you have been keeping up with my blog you’ll know that it isn’t just the raptors that make Braddock Bay and the local area such a great place to be for spring migration. There is plenty of other goodies to enjoy here as well. So far personal highlights on the season have included Red-headed Woodpecker, American White Pelican, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Eurasian Wigeon, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Sandhill Crane and Swainson’s Hawk amongst the usual owls, ducks, gulls and neotropical migrants.

Thursday at the park was pretty astounding in terms of warbler migration. I thought I’d share my post to Genessee Birds from the day:

” I just wanted to echo that there was some incredible ‘warblering’ to be had at the hawkwatch today. I ran into Brad Carlson who had been checking out the action away from the hawkwatch and once he mentioned Bay-breasted Warbler I had to take half an hour off of hawkwatching for the day and look for some warblers. Post watch I also went back into the woods at the park and much of the same or more of the same birds continued. Most of the birds were on the edge of the woods between the pavilion and the pines at the far end of the park heading towards the lake.

Personally I had the following in rough numbers: Yellow Warbler (40+), Chestnut-sided Warbler (2), Magnolia Warbler (3), Cape May Warbler (6 males & 2 females) including incredible extended views of birds picking through the cherry blossoms low behind the pavilion, Blackburnian Warbler (10+), Black-throated Blue (3), Black-throated Green (10+), Yellow-rumped Warbler (75+), Palm Warbler (10+ all western), Pine Warbler (1), Blackpoll Warbler (3), Bay-breasted Warbler (2) including stunning extended close head height views of one bird, Tennessee (1 ho), Nashville Warbler (10+), Northern Parula (3), Black & White (2), American Redstart (3), Common Yellowthroat (2), Wilson’s Warbler (3) including great views of a very vocal bird.

Other highlights on the day were more Blackburnians and Red-breasted Nuthatch at Owl Woods on the way home and Orchard Oriole and a probable (it didn’t vocalize) Acadian Flycatcher near the Braddock Bay Bird Observatory banding station (broad long bill, distinct eyering, comparatively bright green back, long primary projection). At the hawkwatch a steady stream of Sharpie were jumping off of West Spit and were joined by 2 adult Peregrines and 1 Merlin.”

The next day was almost as impressive with the second bird that I looked at after getting out of the car turning out to be a stunning Prothonotary Warbler!!!!!

Yesterday the rains came, and as well as washing out the hawkwatch it made for somewhat difficult land birding. Still rain or no rain I did decide to have a damp stroll through the local hotspot Island Cottage Woods. Not a great deal of action but a beautiful spot and even on a somewhat slow day I managed to find a couple of Bay-breasts and a couple of jaunty little Wilson’s Warblers (is there a more frenetic warbler?)

Having birded many of the Northeasts migrant hotspots I’d have to say that a good day around Braddock is hard to beat. I think the tally of Cape Mays is probably more than I have ever managed to see in one day anywhere in the US. This amazing mix of birds is what makes Braddock such a focal point for local birders and one that should draw crowds from far and wide.

Interestingly a couple of Queens birders stopped in on their way back from Magee Marsh and were raving about it as an experience. I mentioned the Prothonotary and they didn’t bat an eyelid, but once I mentioned that Greg Lawrence (one of New York’s up and coming young birders) had managed to pick up Connecticut, Mourning, Orange-crowned and Golden-winged just a stones throw from the park I could tell their interest had been piqued (it turned out they had missed three of these at Magee). Once I told them about the 39k Broad-winged Day they were even more intrigued! Anyway after spending a little time showing them some of the lingering warblers at the park and after steering them towards Island Cottage Woods they vowed to be back next year and add it to their migration road trip itinerary.

What could be a more perfect way to spend spring migration? Pop in for a big Broadie flight in Hilton NY and then swing up to Ohio for a week of incredible warblering? Not that you couldn’t have fun looking for warblers here, but then I wouldn’t get to find any of the good stuff if Braddock turned into Magee Marsh 😉

The area banders have been doing pretty nicely as well. Thanks to Ryan Kayhart at BBBO (website here) for the shot of the Cape May from today.



2 responses

16 05 2011
Steve Beal

Sounds like such an incredible place – not just for migration 🙂 I love Ryan’s pic of the Cape May!

16 05 2011

Hey Steve, It is pretty special here – next year we have to make sure that we organize that Quaker Ridge road trip. I know you guys will just love it here! Plus the photo ops are amazing!

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