Saturday, June 10, 2017

Doodletown Fun Friday

     Since spending last Sunday at the World Ocean Festival on Governor's Island, I had some time earned I could use. So I did! I took yesterday off and drove up to Doodletown Road in Bear Mountain State Park.
     Doodletown in known by birders for it's nesting warblers, specifically its Cerulean warblers. Ceruleans were surely a target, but I ended up with a few other birding wins as well on the trip. I like going to Doodletown or any other birding hotspots on weekdays. It avoids the traveling groups and crowds in general. Which I'm glad there were very few crowds because I drank a giant iced coffee for the ride up and there is a lot of poison ivy to avoid, need I say more? (no shame).
     I usually try to hit Doodletown earlier in the season, so today gave me the chance to practice my ear birding because trees are fully leaved and it's very hard to see anything in the canopy. I was happy to ID yellow throated vireo, rose-breasted grosbeak, hooded warbler, yellow warbler, black billed cuckoo, and chipping sparrow by ear- it was helpful especially when a few of them would pop out to confirm my ID.
     Fully leaved trees though, made it dark- so photos were a little tough in low light...
I was able to ID this and a few other yellow-throated vireos by call- as it sounds like they ask a question then answer it, as the first portion of their song gets higher pitched toward the end, and the second portion of their song goes lower.

One of two scarlet tanagers I saw. The trees here are large and mature, so the canopy feels so much higher-- the fact that they are also on a steep hillside doesn't help either.

For my sister, Kim-- she loooves bunnies-- An Eastern cottontail nibbles on fallen tulip tree flower petals along the trail.

A hint of that cotton tail.

A bird I have only heard before (actually, in Doodletown last year), a black-billed cuckoo! So stoked to caught him flying in, otherwise I don't think I'd have seen him.

So glad he kept my sight, because then next to me....

A hooded warbler was singing and made an appearance!

He sang and kept me where I was enabling me to observe a pileated woodpecker who flew in behind me to chisel up a fallen log, who again, kept me stationed where I was, allowing for me to see...

My second ever (I saw the first one ever an hour before earlier on the trail) worm-eating warbler! Again, crappy picture, but, so stoked to have a record shot.

As quickly as he flew in, he made his way into the brush, where it disappeared. Thank you to that cuckoo who kept me stationed to see all that I saw!

Eastern Chipmunk.

So cute!

A hairy woodpecker with a delicious grub!

On my way up the trail, I spotted a cerulean warbler, and it was feeding its freshly fledged chick. The chick had no tail feathers in yet, so I assumed it probably was not flying. I figured on my way back, I'd check to see if I could get some better views of its parents who looked to be busy foraging in the area around the shrub the chick was in.

Well, I was right! Mom scored this amazing hornworm caterpillar. The caterpillar probably is nearly as big as she!

So in order to consumer and transport the substantial meal to her offspring, she spent a lot of time bashing, biting, and repositioning this larvae... as you will see...

GET IN MY BELLY... err, crop.

Had a really great visit to Doodletown, I walked to Iona Island after- which by that time was noon and the heat of the day was on. The bird song had died down and the heat had turned up, so by 1, I headed back to Brooklyn. I felt fortunate to have beat traffic there and back and had a great visit building my year list now up to 216 species.