birds and burr-d

The birding team of David Smith and Deb Weston are stepping up their Quarry Farm game again in anticipation of fall migration. As we watered and fed the farm animal sanctuary residents, Deb’s car passed the front gate sometime around 7 this morning. Shortly thereafter, a large heron-ish bird flew up from the nature preserve and overhead. To say that it flapped its great wings in its journey southwest just doesn’t sound like the correct adverb for such a graceful movement.

Stick-tights hitched a ride with Birder David.

“So jazzed to see the Great Egret,” texted Deb from the trails. She said that David and his wife Julie have seen them in Putnam County. “But it was super cool to see it in the quarry actively hunting—until it saw us.”

There was a Great Blue Heron stalking the quarry wetland, not far from the egret, and one lone female Wood Duck.  They heard but didn’t see the Red-breasted Nuthatch and were pretty certain that they saw an Ovenbird but neither of them felt confident enough to add it to today’s ebird list. Today’s list also included nine warblers: Black and White, Tennessee, Nashville, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Northern Parula, Magnolia, Bay-breasted and Blackburnian.  

“Our record for fall from last year is 42 and that’s what we got today,” Deb added.  

The Quarry Farm tally on ebird is now at 138 species.

As Deb waits in the leafy shadows for landing birds, she trains her hefty camera on insects. Gerald O. Coburn would be thrilled. He photographed and documented most of the dragonfly and butterfly species noted here, as well as many birds. Deb told me last week that she would have really liked my dad. I told her that I think the admiration would be mutual. Dad would have seen her car pass by his own driveway, fired up his ATV and firmly directed her to grab her camera and hop on, wasting no time to see everything that sought warmth and breakfast with the sunrise.

Blowing 2020 out of the water

“Last year on May 20th we had 56 species and on the 21st we had 57.  Today we chewed those numbers up and spit out an overwhelming 68 species.  A phenomenal 18 warbler species and The QF is now at 134 species which is 2/3 of the species seen in Putnam County.  The Wilson’s Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat and the Canada Warbler are all new just since Saturday.  We saw 2 Wilson’s Warblers on the tree line way back in the prairie area and 2 Green Herons fly from the quarry.  One of the best birding days of my life. The light wasn’t good for photos, but I got a new one of the Wilson’s Warbler, a couple of Blackburnian Warblers and a Blackpoll Warbler.”