Rick Marsi Diary

Following are a collection of sightings and thoughts.

Sightings for March

March Sightings

March 1, 06 – Driving up to the driveway, I saw a juvenile Cooper’s hawk glide across the road, through the cut where old driveway used to be and up toward the house. Buffy color dominated, and large. When I pulled up to the house, the bird was standing on the driveway at the garage entrance. It immediately flew back down the cut, and by doing so flew right past me. Banded tail was quite clear. As I approached the garage, three juncos flew out of yew bush at side of doorway. They must have flown into the bush when the hawk arrived. The hawk must have been trying to figure out how to get them out when I showed up.

March 1, 11 – In morning, two male cardinals singing at opposite ends of property. Sunny and 33 degrees.

March 1, 16 – Costa Rica, Guanacaste Province. Large butterfly at the beach. Tiger Swallowtail pattern but no tails and colors of black and lime green. Gecko at the casita: 4 inches long and gray-brown. “Click-click” at night. Resident hummer is Cinnamon Hummingbird. Scarlet Macaws like Beach Almond. Great Green Macaws like Mountain Almond. 150 S Macaws released so far in CR.

March 1, 17 - Spotted three Black Vultures standing by the road, and four more in a tree, on Fuller Hollow Rd. One hour later, I saw one soaring above that spot. rare bird this far north.

March 2, 06 – RB Nuthatch calling persistently in Norway spruces across the road. Pair of bluebirds on wire on Foster Rd.

March 2, 11 – Pair of turkey vultures high over Powderhouse Rd. Strong westerly winds. High 35 degrees.

March 2, 12 – At Upper Lisle wetland…. 10 or so Hooded Mergansers, more males than females. A pair of black ducks. Many mallards and Canada geese.

March 2, 16 - Pair of Masked Tityras in trees below casita. Sparrow-like bird in hedge and on grass. Beige throat and beige stripes on head, alternating with black stripes. Heavy black bill that turns slightly down. At the beach… first sighting of Osprey, hunting over the surf. Five Royal Terns also fishing.

March 2, 17 - Fox sparrow under the feeder. We had two several days ago. Twenty ring-necked ducks at Upper Lisle wetland. A pair of red-tailed hawks circling together. Trembling aspens are producing their pussy willow-like flowers. Clumps of these trees now look gray against brown hillsides.

March 3, 06 – Female purple finch at feeder.

March 3, 08 – Reports of several large flocks of snow geese passing through.

March 3, 11 – Pair of hooded mergansers at CV State Park.

March 3, 17 - Bands of heavy lake effect snow blowing through. Wetland had-frozen, but still holing mallards, a ring-necked duck and a male scaup. On the lake, near the point, a pair of Redheads diving to feed on submerged vegetation. Also there, male Bufflehead and Hooded Marganser. A lone Robin hopping on the barrier road while snow swirled around it.

March 4 – 7 hooded mergansers (4 males) on narrows at Chris’s.

March 4, 11 – Season’s first northerly migrating flock of Canada geese overhead. 38 degrees, south wind.

March 4, 12 – At Whitney Point… Hooded mergansers in river backwater and on wetland pond. Several large flocks of red-winged blackbirds (some grackles mixed in) flying about. At home… First cardinal heard singing this year.

March 4, 12 – Bald eagles begin incubating at CV State park nest.

March 4, 16. Costa Rica, Guanacaste. Small version of Kiskadee (Social Flycatcher). Black-headed trogon.

March 4, 17 - Bitter cold with wind chill at zero. Male and female Cardinal frequent at feeder. Pair of Fox Sparrows still here after a week, scratching on ground under split rail fence. Male Robin perched in honeysuckle.

March 5 – 50 snow geeseover Brier Hill. High 70 degrees. 2 fox sparrows at Chris’s.

March 5, 16 – Costa Rica, Guanacaste. Pair of Wood Storks soaring high with vultures over the beach.

At Silencio… Blackburnian Warbler foraging in trees around cabins. Common Bush Tanager foraging on deck at lodge.

March 5, 17 - A rare joint appearance at the feeder area by male and female Red-bellied Woodpecker. Titmice singing. Juncos chasing (we have had three for some time now), Pileated Woodpecker calling and drumming loudly on big tree in back woods.

At local wetland... The lake and all the wetland areas are frozen after two days of brutal cold. However, the river is not. Found 30+ Black Ducks and 40+ Mallards loafing near the Clay Banks. Walked toward the bank to get a photo. Had a chance to take one of the birds on the water. Then, with me still being 150 yards away, they all up and took off. THAT is wary. In the first photo, you can see the blacks already have their heads up. Also 8 or so Hooded Mergs, all paired up, in the river.

At friend Mike's house... The woodcock return and begin their twilight display flights.

March 6 – Costa Rica. Cloud Forest. With Venicio, we get the Green-fronted Lancebill , a life bird. Perched just over a mountain stream, hawking insects. Also, a great look at Long-tailed Silky Flycatcher and Purple-throated Mountain Gem. In the morning, Slaty-throated Redstart gives us a look from bed in our cabin.

In the hummingbird garden: Purple-throated Mountain Gem, Black-bellied Hummingbird and Scintillant Hummingbird. In the evening, I walk out on the deck and a large bird swooshes by me, less than a foot away. Looks to be the size of a MEDIUM-SIZED OWL. Zooms through the porch area and disappears.


March 7, 11 – We awake to nearly 20 inches of new snow. Pair of robins eating crab apples in tree at corner of Clifton and Fuller Hollow. Brown creeper at suet.

March 7, 12 - Floated the river. Gauge at 3. Air at 60 degrees. Strong south wind. Flushed 7 wood ducks, a pair of hooded mergansers and numerous mallards. Heard first song sparrow singing and killdeer calling. Pair of killdeer in field by road. At the wetland, observed 10 black ducks, 20 mallards, 6 green-winged teal and a pair of pintails. Several flocks of pintails flew overhead, one containing 40 birds. Watched a Bonaparte’s gull picking ice on the lake – in winter plumage. Also on ice at lake edge: 10 tundra swans. At 5 p.m. a flock of 30 more swans flew low overhead, in a perfect V, calling loudly.

March 7, 16 - Costa Rica, Could Forest. Brown Jay in tree in front of bedroom at 8 a.m. On walk to Butterfly (Calabri) Garden… Encounter Buff-fronted Quail Dove just of the trail. Lovely purplish back with shining light green head. Ten yards farther down the trail, we encounter a five-foot-long snake, with its head on the  trail and the rest of its body just off it. Two inches thick – uniformly. Clelia clelia or “Vulture” snake. All dark charcoal gray, almost black. Grows to 8 feet. Found on the ground in open forests. Uses whipping tail as a defense. Not poisonous.

 At the garden, I photograph a medium-sized, tailed butterfly at the hedge flowers the hummers are feeding on.

At 5:30 p.m. I see a Ruddy-capped Nightingale Thrush perched in tree by cabin. It has been singing its beautiful song each morning and evening during our visit.

March 8 – Brown creepersinging at Chris’s.?March 8 (06) – Female flicker at suet feeder.

March 8, 12 – 6-8 robins on lawn in town. March 9 (06) – Eight tom turkeys at feeder. 

March 8, 16 – Costa Rica, Cloud Forest. Observed Torrent  Terranulet working a small stream just above the main lodge. Watched it twitching its tail and snatching insect life from a mid-stream boulder at water level. Walked to Melody Falls. Observed finch-sized bird with study dark bill, black crown and two white stripes sweeping from nape to face on either side of it. (Yellow-throated Brush Finch) Also in same small forest flock: a warbler-sized bird with yellow breast, yellow face, brighter yellow eye line and duller head. Wilson’s Warbler female. Along the trail: a moth with six-inch wingspan. Two shades of brown, wispy light antennae. Most obvious field mark: two pale windows on each wing. Each window a trapezoid, wider at top that at bottom – an inch from top to bottom. Also along the trail: a butterfly with three-inch wingspan. From the outside of the win in, the markings were: an inch of bright orange-brown; then a thin white stripe; then very dark by the body.

In the afternoon, in trees near our casita: Spangle-cheeked Tanager. Great looks. At 4:30 p.m.  swallow lands on rafter under roof of patio to spend the night.

March 9, 11 – Flock of 50 snow buntings that had been staying for several weeks in field above house on Treadwell Hill Rd. Finally depart.

March 9, 12 – On Rte. 88 near Chenango bridge exit… Three bald eagles overhead, two of them adult. The adults were swooping close to one another, dipping their wings. At CV State Park… Several pairs of hooded mergansers on the river and Chenango Lake.

March 9, 13 - Two signs of spring today (temp. in mid-40s): A large hatch of adult stoneflies appeared on the Chenango River; a Brown Creeper was heard singing along the river's banks.

March 9 – Blue and white swallow pair fly onto beam under patio and mate. Then they come back and forth numerous times as we watch from bed in the casita.


March 10 (06). State Park. Pair hooded mergansers. Male wood duck. Brown creeper singing. Two female red crossbills on towpath trail.

March 10, 10 – Huge flock of snow geese overhead at 9 a.m.. One large flock, inside of which were four smaller flocks, one of which contained 20 blue geese. March 10, 10 – Flock of 20-30 waxwings eating berries on tree at corner of Powderhouse and Clifton.

March 10 – 5 tom turkeys displaying here.

March 10, 12 – At lake and wetland complex… 4-5 pairs of bufflehead, 4-5 pairs ring-necked ducks, 4-5 pairs hooded mergansers, on pair gadwall, two drakes and one hen wigeon. Two female harriers over marsh grass. 10 purple finches in nearby woods, along with 25 pine siskins.

March 10, 13 - High of 59 with south wind. Constant flocks of Canada geese from noon to 3 p.m. Junco singing. Lone croaking raven flies low over the house, heading south.

At home… A pair of ravenssoars overhead. Like synchronized swimmers, they keep a 5-10 foot distance between each other. One moves exactly as the other one does. At one point, they circled for at least 10  seconds without either one flapping a wing. Let a crow try that.

March 10, 17 - Very cold and blustery. High 30. Here... One Fox Sparrow at feeder. The same one we've seen for more than a week? 24 hen turkeys at feeder in the morning. At dusk, 6 Tom turkeys. 

At the wetland... Six Green-winged Teal and two pairs of Wood Ducks - both first sightings of these ducks this year. Watched a male Ring-neck diving in shallow water. One time, he came up with a long piece of rootlet hanging from his bill.

March 11 (06). 60 degrees and strong south wind. Five large flocks of snow geeseover the house between 10 and 10:30 a.m. First robin in yard. 

March 11, 10 – State Park. Heard RB Nuthatch calling in red pines on Towpath Trail. Used call and a male came at once, calling loudly overhead. A female was with him. Heard brown creeper in same area. Played call and a bird appeared. While we watched it, another creeper continued singing. Total of 6 hooded mergansers on Chenango, plus two black ducks.

March 11, 12 – State Park. Carolina wren calling often. Scolded by a junco – constantly chipping at me from nearby branch. Pair of hooded mergansers on river. At home… Porcupine in yard and side woods at 1 p.m. Very slow, torpid. Nosing about on the ground, drinking from meltwater puddle. Finally realized I was there when I got within 15 feet. Fanned its quills in typical fashion. After 30 seconds, resumed nosing about.

March 11, 13 - First float of the year on the river. Air temp: 50. Water temp: 40. Wind: SW at 15 mph. Loads of waterfowl. At least 15-20 of all these: mallard, black duck, common merganser, wood duck. Also, a single male  Hooded Merganser and two Ring-necked Ducks. In addition, we got quite close to a  juvenile Bald Eagle and encountered a flock of Tree Swallows in brush along the riverbank. Large flock of Red-winged Blackbirds, plus a number of Robins sighted.  At home: male Cardinal singling loudly in a.m. from top of a 30-foot White Ash.

March 12 – Fox sparrowhere. Pair of hooded mergansers on mom’s pond. Brown creeper singing.

March 12 (06). Boland’s Pond. Pair pintails. 15 ring-necks. Many common mergs. Six green-winged teal, most males, very close.

March 12, 11 – Flock of 30 snow geese calling and flying overhead. Gorgeous male redpoll at sunflower feeder and then in the yard during morning.

March 12, 12 – Two juncos swirl upward from the ground near feeder, beak to beak in confrontation.

March 12, 16 - Looked out the kitchen window this morning to see a juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk eating a Mourning Dove and the driveway. Feathers were everywhere. The bird continued eating for another five minutes before taking off with its prey, and flying low about 30 yards into the woods before landing.

Also today, saw a male and female Red-bellied Woodpecker within a foot of each other on a red maple at edge of driveway. Male had been at suet on feeder. Female was in the maple, sipping nectar from a wounded branch. Male flew up to join her. Previously, female had been uttering standard chiff-chiff note. Male uttered rolling churr note several times.

March 12, 17 - At Upper Lisle... Lake and wetlands frozen. River channel 75% covered in skim ice. Eight Common Mergansers and two pairs of Hooded Mergansers on open water there. Several red-winged Blackbirds singing. Bassett Road... 50 Red-wings noisy conferring in large hardwood. Carr Road... Red-tailed Hawk perched (with lovely distinct belly band). Also a male Kestrel on wire near hops farm. One more Red-tail on road state road leading to Carr. Flock of 6-8 Tree Sparrows on road high above Lisle.

March 13, 11 – Pileated woodpecker flies from the top of one telephone pole to top of another on Jutland Rd. Ring-necks, gadwall, wigeon, black ducks sighted at Boland Pond and flooded driving range on Rte. 12B. Upper Lisle totally flooded.  Snow geese and ring-necks sighted there.

March 13, 12 – First robin in the yard. Extremely warm weather continues. March 14 (06). 2  fox sparrows at feeder. 4 at Chris’s. Two vultures over Vestal Center.

March 13, 14 - Flock of 50 snow geese lands on top of hill near Jensen and Bunn Hill Rds. in Vestal. At the time, mid-day, a strong cold front was moving in, displacing rain and south winds. The birds must have sensed their helping tailwind would soon turn into an impossible headwind.

March 13, 15 - Had a gorgeous little adult Sharp-shinned Hawk visit the yard today. Flew in, perched, looked around - nothing. Changed perch, looked around - nothing. Things had turned as silent as Chernobyl out there. Changed perches one more time, to a nearby pine, looked around - nothing. Then flew down a forest path and was gone. Many great looks through binoculars.

March 13, 16 - First Robin of the season in our yard - tutting and scolding. Cardinals singing. A Broadwinged-hawk spotted flying along the road .5 miles toward town. First river kayak trip of 2016. Cardinal, song sparrows singing. Flushed 6 Mallards, 2 Common Mergansers, 3 Hooded Mergansers and 2 Wood Ducks. Saw the white head of a Bald Eagle protruding over the edge of a nest in woods 100 yards from river bank. We've watched this nest for several years but never seen a bird on it. 

March 13, 18 - Carolina Wren clinging to hanging sunflower feeder. Two Brown Creepers on tree with suet feeder. First time I have ever seen two at once. female Purple Finch singing in tall tales above feeders. 

 May 14, 11 – Seven turkey vultures swirling over Powderhouse Rd. Flock of 20 turkey hens and one strutting Tom in the back yard at 7:30 a.m. Beard on the Tom looked to be around 8 inches. In the evening, yesterday’s robin had been joined by a second robin. On Rte. 26 above Whitney Point – two red-tailed hawks soaring together. Sat by wetland and observed 6-8 wigeon and  6-8 hooded mergansers. Also saw at least 25 painted turtles basking on logs. 

March 14, 13 - First Fox Sparrow of the year sighted under feeder here. (See entry above for March 14, 2006)

March 14, 15 - A pair of Turkey Vultures sighted on the road above out house - first ones seen this year.

March 14, 16 - First Song Sparrow of the year on driveway, eating finch seed I swept from garage yesterday.

Match 14, 17 - We wake up to 14 inches of snow. By the next morning we have 36 inches on the ground - the most ever for a one-day period in this area.

March 15 – Redpolls and siskins at feeder. Red-breasted nuthatch at sunflowers. Juncos singing and chasing. Robin kicking up leaves by driveway. 40-50 redpolls at feeder. Turkey vulture overhead at Brier Hill. First great blue heron flying over Jensen Rd.

March 15 (06). 30 robins on lawn at tennis center. Pair of red-tails courting over house. First time I watched them: Flying close, then suddenly stopping their flaps to glide and stall momentarily. An hour later, saw them again, this time one chasing the other. Also, as many as four fox sparrows now here. They have a Tssee call not unlike white-throat. Heard it around 5 p.m. Three or four in maple tree below house.

March 15, 08 – Report of several hundred gulls feeding in grassy area near Vestal Center.

March 15, 10 – Walked Lily Lake Trail at State Park. Ice melting but still covering much of the lake. Trailing arbutus found along trail. Looks like pitcher plant growing on island that features sphagnum moss.

March 15, 12 – On the river… Level at 2.5. Water temp. at 44. Two flocks of wood ducks – perhaps 40 birds total. 6-8 hooded mergansers. Numerous song sparrows singing. Junco and Cardinal also. Huge flock of noisy red-wings in riverbank willows near Secret Spot. Mourning Cloak butterfly flew by the car as we neared river launch site.

March 15, 14 - Several large flocks of migrating Snow Geese sighted locally.

March 15, 16 - Flock of 6 Pine Siskins at feeder at 9 a.m. Here for just a few minuets and then gone.

March 15, 17 - We clear 21 inches of new snow off the driveway. The two Fox Sparrows we're been hosting for several weeks are still here and surviving quite nicely.

March 15, 18 - Road birding in northern Broome County. Snow-covered fields drive birds to roadsides. Photograph Horned Larks, Snow Buntings, Tree Sparrows and Song Sparrows. Also encountered several small flocks of Robins and a male Ring-necked Pheasant walking down Page brook Road. Numerous geese on the river, plus one male Scaup and several Hooded and Common Mergansers. 

March 16, 08 – Also, as many as four fox sparrows now here. They have a Tssee call not unlike white-throat. Heard it around 5 p.m. Three or four in maple tree below house.

March 16, 15 - With the temp. rising to near 50, there were some signs of spring after a very cold, very snowy winter. Still a foot of snow on the ground. A cardinal sang in the morning, and goldfinches were calling in Scotch pine above the feeder. Male Red-bellied Woodpecker appeared at the suet. Bluejay gave its convincing imitation call of an accipiter from tree in the front yard.

March 16, 16 - A warm day with such winds brings a huge flock of Snow Geese migrating overhead - 7 or 8 wedges traveling together.

March 16, 17 - Adding insult to injury, after a blizzard dropped 36 inches of snow and the temperatures have been in the teens for days, a flock of 40 geese flew south overhead in a perfect wedge today, high up and racing along on a bitter NW wind.

March 17, 08 – First robin here – a nice bright male. At Boland’s Pond: several dozen wigeon and ring-necks; three pair pintail, a few common mergs; a couple black ducks, a few mallards.

 March 17 – Two inches of new snow overnight. Very cold with stiff nw wind. Two  fox sparrows, many juncos, at the feeder, plus rb nuthatch. Goldfinch at feeder, starting to turn color. Several flocks of robins encountered on the drive home from Sawtelle. Flying up from the roadside. Chris reports two snipe in temporary pool at Tri-Cities Airport.

 March 17, 10 – 65 and sunny. Two more flocks of 100+ snow geese high overhead – a handful of blue geese among them. At Boland’s Pond – 12 black ducks, two pairs green-winged teal and 8 ring-necks. Heard my first red-wings honker-eeing. At home , two chickadees singing “tee-ter” at each other, their pitches slightly different.   

 March 17, 12 – record warmth continues. High 73. Two cardinals singing, one on either side of the road by driveway. First phoebe heard singing. Silver, Norway maples flowering. Mourning cloaks flies through the yard. 

 March 17, 13 - Continued cold weather. WP Reservoir is completely frozen, as is most of the river channel that feeds it below the Upper Lisle Bridge. Several pairs of Buffleheads in that channel. Also in the river below Clay Banks: 20 Hooded Mergansers, 4 Pintail, 5 Ring-Necked Ducks, 2 Common Mergansers. Feeding at river's edge by gravel bar above Clay Banks: 2 male Green-winged Teal. Also, an adult Bald Eagle circled above the ducks below Clay Banks, finally landing in the top of a tall tree on the bank, directly over their location. Numerous robins about, some feeding on sumac fruits. Two Killdeer on the  gravel bar.

March 17, 15 - A hardy Song Sparrow has returned to the yard, along with a pair of Juncos. They, along with ten Wild Turkeys, were the major players at the feeder today.

March 17, 16 - Visited a friend this evening at 7:30 in hopes of watching Woodcock males do their in-flight display. Unfortunately, the wind was blowing 10-20 from the NW, which discouraged a full-blown display. The males did utter their Bzzzt calls from the ground, and a few took briefly to the air, but wind and cold cut that short rather quickly. My friend said the birds have been in his back field since late February - not surprising given the mild winter we've had, combined with lack of snow.

Also, heard the first meadow frog in the garden pond today.

March 17, 17 - Three robins appear in yard, perched in trees above split rail fence. Two feet of snow on the ground.

March 17, 18 - Photographed Horned Larks in stubble cornfield above Center Lisle. Also got a very nice photo of a male Robin on Bassett Road. Small flocks of tree Sparrows also are feeding near roadsides. At Landers Corners, three male Common Mergansers were swimming with one female. The guttural noises coming from the group were new to my ears. 

 March 18, 07 – Two tree sparrows at feeder. They sometimes cling to the suet feeder. We hear our first robin.

March 18 – Fox sparrow. Cold and clear. High 40.   March 18, 08 – No fox sparrows yet this year. At Boland’s: two male and one female  canvasback; a pair of scaup; several blacks and ring-necks. Many male redwings posted at regular intervals along pond, each perched atop a cattail stalk. March 18, 10 – V of 30-40 Canadas flying next to a V of 30  snow geese, at 9 a.m. First  robins sighted – a pair fighting in the middle of Clifton Blvd. and a bird chipping and tutting at our place.         

March 18, 12 – Three red-tailed hawks circling in close proximity over Chris’s house. First leopard frog sighted in garden pond. Red maple trees flowering. Aspen catkins dangling white in the sun.

March 18, 13 - 16 degrees this morning. Pair of Hooded Mergansers at Port Dick Park. 25 Mallards, 6 Hooded Mergansers and 2 Black Ducks at CVSP. First pair of Wood Ducks and a lone Black Duck at Boland. Boland is 90%  frozen. Here, Goldfinches making quite a racket. 5-6 on feeders. Snow begins falling at 4 p.m.

March 18, 14  - 10 Turkey Vultures swirling over the Stair Housing Development this morning.

March 18, 16 - Male and female Hairy Woodpeckers together at suet feeder on tree. Female was feeding. Male hitched up the tree to feeder. Female chased it away. Then, a female Red-bellied Woodpecker appeared. Got to compare sizes of the two species - about the same.

March 18, 18 - At Upper Lisle, a lovely male Sharp-shinned Hawk flies in front of the truck and lands 30 away at eye level. Had great looks at the bird for several minutes before it took and  flew fast and low up Upper Lisle Road.

March 19 – Harriet reports fox sparrows. Buddy reports six under his feeder in Connecticut. Also reports hundreds of common mergansers on lake near New Preston.

March 18, 17 - Three male cardinals in the yard. We've had only one all winter. A lone goldfinch appears. Two fox sparrows are still here. They eat corn from the tray below our hooper feeder.

March 19 (06). Cut a black birch stump – five feet high and a bit punky – in woods on lower side of house. Flying squirrel nest was located in a cup at the top. Covered with fine grasses. The squirrel lingered for quite a while. Climbed on top of the stump where the nest stub head been. Approached us very closely – even jumped briefly on a pant leg. Then climbed 25 feet in an oak, before leaping off, falling straight down, then banking upward two feet and landing on a tree 15 feet from the one off which it had jumped. Light as a feather, truly flying, or at least gliding beautifully.  

March 19, 10 – Bix flushes two snipe at Upper Lisle. Floated the Otselic. Wood ducks, a pair of GW teal, many muskrats, many geese overhead. Came upon a resting flock of Canadas, with one  blue goose among them. On wetland at Upper Lisle – two male and one female  widgeon, giving their distinctive peep call.

March 19, 14 - Small flock of robins feeding on sumac near Whitney Point. WP Lake completely frozen. Otselic River channel below bridge frozen. Most of river above bridge frozen. 

March 19, 15 - Drove to Whitney Point on a bright, chilly day. The lake is completely frozen, as is the river channel below and above the Upper Lisle bridge. Bird report for the trip... 200 crows, most working spread manure fields; 50 pigeons, all on the same manure field; 25 snow buntings in hilltop field; 25 wild turkeys, scratching in field along Rte. 26; 4 Canada geese on Tioughnioga River at Itaska; 12 robins along roadsides. At home, a brown creeper appeared twice on the ash tree near our driveway.

March 19, 16 - At the feeder... a flock of Purple Finches, including at least six males; six Pine Siskins; a lone Song Sparrow; male and female Red-bellied Woodpecker.

March 19, 18 - The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker we hosted for much the winter has returned after a month-long absence. The coloring on this male is unique enough to make me sure it's the same bird.

March 20 – Bluebird on Jensen Rd. at Nature Preserve. Female – just bright blue on the tail as it flew across the road. Redpolls at feeder.  

March 20, 10 – Two lovely mourning cloaks sighted here at home. Bright sun, 65 degrees. 

March 20, 11 – First robin in yard at 5 p.m. First fox sparrow singing in yard in morning. Goldfinch males starting to turn yellow. Heard phoebe singing just up the road.

 March 20, 13 - Cold continues. High 32. At CV State Park... First Wood Duck pair at the park observed on river. Also, Mallards, Black Ducks, Common and Hooded Mergansers. On the Chenango River along Rte. 369... several Tree Swallows hawking insects. We did see several Stone Fly adults on the snow while walking at the park.

March 20, 14 - First day of spring and first robin seen from the house - perched in a forest maple as flurries whipped through. Purple Finch male at the feeder this morning.

March 20, 17 - Plieated Woodpecker drumming in woods below the bank garden. At least one Fox Sparrow still here after two weeks.

March 20 - Ten degrees on the first morning of spring. At least 6 inches of snow on the ground. WP Lake frozen except for river mouth at north end. Many birds using the river as they migrate north. Saw first Wood Ducks of the year - two males. Plus two pairs of Pintails, 20 Ring-necked Ducks, 10 Black Ducks and several pairs of Hooded Mergansers. Numerous Robins along roadsides.

March 21 – Brown creeper on scotch pine and maple by driveway. Two Toms displaying for each other in lane, about 30 yards from feeding hens.

March 21, 07 – Three toms in yard. First turkeys in over a month. Song sparrow singing here also. Robins along Fuller Hollow Rd.

March 21 , 08 – Boland’s Pond: Two male and a female canvasback; pair of greater scaup (male’s head green; white streak on underwings very long); pair of bufflehead and green-winged teal. Upper Lisle: wetland frozen, two pair gw teal on bank of river channel; many killdeer on river mudflats; reservoir empty except for geese and one pair common merganser. In flooded cornfield just south of Whitney Point: several dozen mallards and black ducks with two pair gw teal. One redhead in backwater of river just south of town.

March 21, 10 – Pileated drumming in woods behind house. HG calls at 7:30 p.m. to report hearing a saw-whet owl calling.

March 21, 11 – First song sparrow in yard. Robin singing loudly from top of 40-foot maple in side woods.

March 21, 12 – On the river… Air temp. 73. Gauge at 2.1. Slightly discolored. Water temp. an amazing  55 degrees. Hooked 7 fish on minnow crankbait. Five bass, the biggest 14 inches. 12-inch walleye and chub. BU Nature Preserve… Robin anting on mound of Allegany Mound Building Ants. Leopard frogs snoring in wetland pond. Pileated woodpecker drumming. At home… Spring Azure butterfly.

March 21, 13 - Continued very cold. High 30. NW wind. All ponds and lakes remain frozen. Chris reports a male Harrier hunting at the Tri-Cities Airport. Here, I note the first goldfinch male beginning to show some bright yellow feathers.

March 21, 15 -Two gray fox trotted through the back yard, into the woods and up the hill this morning. They looked identical - remarkably small. Looking at last night's snow on the ground later in the morning, we saw their tracks all around the house.

March 21, 16 - Whitney Point Lake open but empty, except for a Pied-billed Grebe. Upper Lisle protected cove has 30 Common Mergansers and 4 Hooded Mergansers, plus 8 Ring-billed Gulls.

Kestrel on wire along Bassett Road. Thirsty Rock Pigeons and two Killdeer on spread manure at Doty Farm. Pigeons are in breeding plumage, showing lovely purple on napes. Forty robins, plus smaller numbers of red-wings and starlings on lawn along Carr Road. Bald Eagle on the ground on lawn along Rte. 26.

March 22 (06). Flock of 20-25 robins on lawn in Vestal.              

March 22, 07 – Starlings feeding on sumac berries. Mourning dove calling.

March 22, 10 – At State Park – Three hooded mergs (2 males) on river and 6 (five males) on Chenango Lake. Pair of Carolina wrens along Towpath. One bird singing chi-PEE, chi-PEE. First song sparrow here. Many singing along local rivers.

March 22, 11 – Flicker calling in lower woods. Flock of 15 redpolls on sunflower and nyger feeders, plus eating seeds from tamarack cones. Goldfinch numbers increasing at feeders. Males turning brighter by the day. Four chipmunks feeding under sunflower feeder.

 March 22, 13 - Continued cold and windy. Fox Sparrow at the feeder for second straight day. Flock of 30+ Starlings observed feeding on staghorn sumac fruits.

March 22, 17 - At Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge on Delaware Bay. In farm field a mile from the refuge, a flock of several thousand Snow Geese feeds and rests. At one point the entire flock lifts off, swirling about only 100 feet or so off the ground before landing again. The din and color show is spectacular. I get photos of a few Blue Geese mixed in with the snows. On the refuge, good photos of Great Egret, Bald Eagle perched in tree by water's edge, female Mallard, male Pintail, male Shoveler and Tree Swallow perched on nest box. Shovelers, Pintails are most common, with Gadwall, Black Ducks, Buffleheads well represented.

March 23 – Robin perched on post outside den and living room windows.

March 23 (06) - First woodcock at Starke’s.

March 23, 07 – Pair of male cowbirds on ground at feeder. Fox sparrow singing in Scotch pine. Pileated calls near Norway spruces. Another, about 100 yards away, immediately answers and flies to it. An hour later, one calls again, and another answers several hundred yards away. Woodcock perform at Starke’s. RB Nuthatch at mother’s.

March 23, 10 – Robin flew in front of the car, carrying nesting material in bill.  At Boland Pond... 30 Pintails, 6 Wigeon, 6 Gadwall.

March 23, 17 - At Chincoteague, VA... Driving over a low bridge across a large salt marsh, we are intercepted by hundreds of Dunlins flying just over the bridge and five feet above the car. The train of white bodies seemed to go on forever. Good photo of 10 red-bellied turtles clumped together in sun at water's edge. Also photograph Swap Sparrow, Yellow-rumped Warbler and Harrier. 

March 24 – Phoebe back at mother’s house.

March 24 (06). Screech owl calling at 6 p.m. near “poison ivy swamp.” 

March 24, 07 – Fox sparrow singing. RB Nuthatch calling.  

March 24, 08 – Pair of siskins at feeder here. Upper Lisle: 10 ring-necks; pair gw teal; pair gadwall; pair widgeon. WP Reservoir: 100+ common mergansers; 5 pair hooded mergansers; 3 pair bufflehead; 1 ruddy duck (winter plumage); 1 pied-billed grebe; 8 black ducks; 3 pintail; killdeer. Route 11 Backwater: 30 ring-necks; 3 pair gw teal; 2 black ducks Lake. Brown creeper and red-breasted nuthatch calling. Heard first wood frogs of the season. At home: 6-8 juncos feeding on corn. Some must be migrants.

 March 24, 13 - At Boland Pond. 6 Gadwall, 1 Pintail. Here... Male Cardinal chases female about and singing. Fox Sparrow still here.

March 24, 16 - At 10 a.m. a Phoebe sings briefly from the top of a 50-foot maple in front yard. At local wetland... Ring-necked Ducks in shallows. Green-winged Teal, a lone Shoveler in cove. Buffleheads on river above nearby lake. Saw four males flying low and together. Beautiful. Legs looked orange. On road to river.. sprays of Song Sparrows flying up. Migrants just arriving?

On the river... Brown Creeper, Cardinal, Chickadee, Titmouse singing. Nuthatch calling in repetitive notes. Small flock of GW Teal; pair of Mallards; pair of Wood Ducks. Water 46 degrees. Geese already paired up on the bank. Adult Bald Eagle sweeps over the treetops about 100 yards from active nest. We can't see anything in the nest, but we surmise an adult is incubating out of sight.

March 24, 17 - At Chincoteague, VA... Photograph a dozen or more robins feeding on berries in 15-foot holly tree. Watch a Cooper's Hawk subdue a grackle in a salt marsh, then fly through and under the piles of a building to eat it. 

March 25 – Raven circled overhead, calling frequently, then soared away to the northeast. Heard and saw first gc kinglet in the yard.

March 25 (06). Pileated drumming. Two fox sparrows. Three robins in woods by house.

March 25, 07 – Pileated drumming. Snipe flushed on preserve near BC Airport. Several woodcock also. 

March 25, 08 – Raven heard and seen here – high and far toward BU. Larry Anderson reports head of woodcock of  Exchange Street under peregrine falcon roost. 

March 25, 09 – Pair of fox sparrows at Upper Lisle. 

March 25, 10 – At Upper Lisle: two drake wood ducks and hen in shallows of wetland pond. In open water there: pair of ring-necked ducks and pair of hooded mergansers. Sharp-shinned hawk flapping and circling over Clay Banks.

March 25, 11 – Six inches of snow on the ground this morning. Redpolls still here. Hooded mergansers and black ducks still in eddy in Chenango Rover at CV State Park.

March 25, 12 – Pair of phoebes flying around previous nest site in screen porch alcove. First song sparrow in yard.

March 25, 16 - Phoebe perched in back yard Douglas Fir; then singing in yard later in morning. Large Porcupine killed on road below house last night. Large numbers (30+) of migrating Juncos in yard from early morning. Three robins chasing also. 

March 25, 17 - At Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge on Delaware Bay... Many acres managed by periodic burning to preserve grassland habitat. In one field, a female kestrel perches on top of a nest box. On road near the preserve, I photograph singing Mockingbird and 100+ Ring-billed Gulls mobbing a tractor as it discs a farm field.

March 26 – Adult bald eagle sighted at Chris’s. Landed in field for five minutes.

March 26. RB nuthatch at the suet.

March 26, 07 – Sapsucker male returns to the Scotch pine. Calling in back woods also. Phoebe singing in yard. Fox sparrow still singing. RB nuthatch in white pine at driveway edge.

March 26, 08 – Brown creeper working ash and maple by driveway. Coot and a dozen black ducks at Boland’s. Upper Lisle wetland melting around the edges. Numerous gw teal, plus mucking blacks and mallards. A few pairs of  hooded mergs. Several pair of wigeon. Clay Banks on river: three male and a female hooded merganser, plus a pair of wood ducks. Reservoir: several dozen common mergs and the same number of ring-necked ducks. A couple pairs of pintails; a male goldeneye with two hens. Numerous pairs of bufflehead. Pied-billed grebe. 

March 26, 13 - Cold continues. Three Common Redpolls at tube feeders.

March 27 (06) – Fox sparrow and song sparrow singing in yard in morning.

March 26, 16 - 30+ Juncos still here and feeding actively on mix of finch seed and niger on ground. Joined by a lone Fox Sparrow at 1 p.m. Make red-bellied Woodpecker calling and female "chuff, chuffing" through the day. Thought I heard the first mewing sound of a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in the lower woods. 

March 26, 17 - Chincoteague NWR, VA... Windy, foggy and raw on the marshes. 50 degrees. Flock of 25 Dowitchers and 25 Dunlins feeding non-stop in shallows as wind blew the fog sideways past them.

At home, Snow Geese flocks on the ground being reported by several observers.

March 27. Five tom turkeys jousting in back yard at 6:30 a.m. Continuous gobbling while they leapt up in the air and beat their wings against each other.

March 27, 09 – Fox sparrow singing in yard. See above. Peepers heard at Upper Lisle.

March 27, 13 - Birder at Upper Lisle, Whitney Point, Lisle. Wetland at Upper Lisle just starting to thaw. Birds observed: mallard, black duck, green-winged teal, ring-necked duck, wigeon, wood duck, hooded merganser, common merganser, bufflehead, coot. Also saw several tree sparrows and a pair of bluebirds. Here at home 30+ common redpolls at the finch food feeders.

March 27, 16 - Six Pine Siskins at feeders here. Also, observed a male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and a Hairy Woodpecker have a dispute near suet. Both were approaching the cage (attached to a tree) when the hairy flared its wings and discouraged the sapsucker. Then another male sapsucker appeared. Both saps approached each other before one flew to a nearby Scotch Pine and began tapping where sapsuckers tap every spring when they arrive: at a gooey spot near the top of the main trunk, where sap has oozed after their tappings for decades. The Brown Creeper was also about.

March 27, 17 - At Chincoteague NWR, VA... Photographed Fish Crow, a preening Great Egret with breeding plumage, and 10 Black-bellied Plovers, still in winter plumage, feeding in salt grass meadow at edge of marsh. Also photographed young Magnolia tree.  

March 28 (06). Five Tom turkeys displaying in the side yard.       

March 28, 07 – Tree swallows over the confluence of Sus. And Chenango rivers.

March 28, 09 – First tree swallows seen at Montezuma. A dozen ring-necked ducks hanging out at backwater below Whitney Point. Brown creeper singing here. Montezuma NWR, Sunny and warm – 70 degrees.    Thousands of canvasbacks and ring-necked ducks. Hundreds of shovelers and redheads. Dozens of coots, widgeon, gadwall, green-winged teal. A number of ruddy ducks, in winter plumage. Huge flock of snow geese. Takes off, flies about and lands again. Twenty or so tundra swans.

March 28, 10 – First ruby-crowned and golden-crowned kinglets in the yard.

March 28, 13 - Bald Eagle pair at their nest across from CV State Park. One bird on the nest; the other perched three feet from it. At an abandoned nest site 100 yards upriver, a juvenile eagle perched near the former nest. The bird's head was almost white but featured a dark line through the eye.          March 29. Brown creeper on maple by driveway.      March 29, 07 – 15 hen turkeys appear, along with several toms. First turkey flock sighting in weeks . March 29, 08 – Huge robin flock reported at Otsiningo. Numbers of ring-necks, hooded mergs and a few gw teal  at Tioghnioga backwater in Whitney Point. Also a lone redhead. Mature bald eagle standing on spit in reservoir. Many common mergs there, plus several pair of bufflehead, more ring-necks and hooded mergs. Two phoebes observed. March 29, 09 – Robin, cardinal and brown creeper singing in yard.

March 29, 10 – First phoebe singing below driveway.

March 29, 13 - Flock of redpolls still here after four days. Red-bellied woodpecker calling. At Upper Lisle... 20 Common Mergansers, 10 Hooded Mergansers, 15 Ring-necked Ducks, 2 Green-winged Teal, 10 Black Ducks, 15 Mallards, 20 Bufflehead, 4 Great Blue Herons. Plus, an adult Bald Eagle perched in a tree by the river in Whitney Point; a juvenile flying over the wetland; another juvenile (maybe the same one) perched in a tree by the river above bridge; and another adult soaring at top of hill  on Rte. 26. 

March 28, 15 - Our cold winter weather continues. NW wind and 25 today. Had a very good bird outing. At Boland's Pond: 6 wigeon, 8 black ducks, 8 mallards, 1 common merganser, 2 hooded mergansers. At Itaska on T. River: 6 green-winged teal; 2 hooded mergansers; 2 wigeon, Canada Geese. Just over the bridge at Itaska: a dozen robins feeding on sumac. At the Clay Banks: 3 bald eagles (2 adults) perched in trees above the river. On Bassett Road at farm: hundreds of male red-winged blackbirds on silage on ground, then swirling about in packed formation. In yard just past the farm: dozens of robins. On Carr Road: several wild turkeys in corn field, plus a mixed flock of horned larks and snow buntings. Also on Carr Rd: small flock of tree sparrows. Also saw: numerous song sparrows, a killdeer and a phoebe.


March 29, 15 - A juvenile Cooper's Hawk, flew in front of the truck, 100 yards up our road from Clifton.  It then landed on a branch at the edge of the road, at eye level. We had a chance to look at it from 15 yards away for several long seconds before it flew. Also, a Robin perched in maple at front of yard for 30 minutes in the evening. Sunny and mild. Made a few "tut, tut" sounds when it first landed; then silent. 

March 30, 07 – Turkeys are back. Fox sparrow still here and singing. Phoebe pair has returned and is hanging out near their last year’s nesting spot at the screen porch.

 March 30 (06) – Fox sparrow singing on morning. Also a song sparrow, but the song wasn’t right. Just getting the hang of it. First robin poking about on the lawn. Singing a bit also. First mourning cloak. Also an angle wing dashed by. March 30, 08 – Pair of male bw teal in tiny wetland at Moore Park. 

March 30. Male purple finch at sunflower feeder.  

March 30, 12 – First pair of cowbirds here, high in maple in front of house. This seems to be the spot I see them first every year. Male displaying and squeaking for female.

March 30, 13 - Observed female Kestrel on Page Brook Road. Two Snow Geese were standing on shelf ice at Whitney Point Reservoir, keeping company with hundreds of Canada Geese. More than a dozen Ring-necked Ducks on open water in river channel. At Boland Pond... 12 Pintail, 2 Wigeon, 4 Gadwall, 2 Wood Ducks. During the day here, a Carolina Wren flitted around the houses, singing loudly. In the evening here, at the top of the hill, a Woodcock performed display flight and "peented" while strutting on ground.

March 30, 15 - Pair of Pine Siskins on the hanging feeder with thistle seeds. Robin singing from high in front yard maple.

Marc 30, 16 - On the river... A pair of adult Red-tailed  Hawks circling low and fairly close over brushy field. Pair of Kingfishers rattling - also in close proximity. A lone Bufflehead diving the the river channel. A lone Green-winged Teal streaking away, showing bright green wing patch in sunlight. Three Wood Ducks sheltering against the bank. Six male Mallards - no females in sight. Three Killdeer calling and flaying over plowed field. Four shorebirds zoom by. Not a good enough look to identify, but smaller than Yellowlegs. Found a dead Wood Turtle at the edge of the river. No sign of a struggle. Photographed Skunk Cabbage. Hoods are up, with leaves just emerging.

In the yard... the YB Sapsucker is back, hammering the Scotch Pine, after taking a couple days off. Three Pine Siskins at thistle feeder, along with several Goldfinches. A dozen Juncos feeding on the ground. Two female Purple Finches at tray feeder.

March 31. Photograph spring peepers and wood frogs at Chris’s. gc kinglets there. Pair of wood ducks. 

March 31, 07 – Upper Lisle flooded. Corn fields loaded with mallards and many blacks. Also numerous wood ducks, plus green-winged teal, wigeon, hooded mergansers and bufflehead. Rusty blackbirds, several fox sparrows. Brown creeper singing. At home GC kinglet in yard. 

March 31  (06) – Phoebe singing in woods. Fox sparrow singing.  Four in yard. RB Nuthatch calling while foraging in tall larch by driveway. 

March 31, 11 – Upper Lisle. Several pairs of bufflehead and green-winged teal. Also pairs of ring-necked ducks and hooded mergansers. Two male lesser scaup – one on reservoir, the other in wetland pond. Pair of wood ducks. Black ducks and mallards. 

March 31, 12 – 38 degrees in the morning with a fine mist. Much bird activity. Robins and bluejays chasing. Numerous juncos. Carolina wren singing loudly. Heard first gobbler in woods above the house. 

 March 31, 13 - Migrants arrived today. First Song Sparrow and Golden-crowned Kinglet, plus 15+ juncos in the yard.

March 31, 15 - Robin singing from perch high in maple this morning. Still lots of snow on the ground.

March 31, 16 - Migrating juncos still here after a week. 15-20 today. Red-tailed Hawk swoops to ground in attempt to catch something in back woods. Bat hunting insects over the house and yard at twilight. Looks larger than Little Brown. Must be a migrant. We had strong south winds today. Big Brown? Sapsucker drumming in woods. First time I've hear it, although the bird has been here a week.

March 31, 17 - Cold, rainy, 35 degrees. Migrating juncos arrive - at least 20 eating corn. Male red-wing singing from top of maple in front yard. Appears at feeder later in the day. Male and female Pileated Woodpecker banging away at fallen aspen in back yard in morning. 

At wetland... 25 Ring-necked Ducks in main pool. Males lifting heads and jousting. 10 Buffleheads in pool by barrier. Males fanning for females and chasing each other. First Song Sparrows singing on river bank.



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