Rick Marsi Diary

Following are a collection of sightings and thoughts.

Sightings for August

August Sightings


August 1, 07 - American lady still in yard, as is great spangled fritillary. Monarch on coneflower, which has been attracting butterflies regularly.

August 1, 06 – High of 95 degrees. Cicadas whining. Cut another large black birch from grove on lower parcel where many are dying. 

August 1, 08 - On the river... I stop to photograph an especially beautiful cardinal flower. While standing by it, I hear the loud buzzing of hummingbird wings. The bird departs upon discovering me. After photographing the flower, I walk back to my kayak. As I get in I see the hummer return to the flower, and feed from every one of its dozens of flowers. Family of 12 common merganser juveniles still can't fly. Cabbage butterflies nectaring on blooming purple loosestrife.

August 1, 09 – Male junco returns to empty nest, perches on it, and calls. Phoebe has returned to the yard after weeks away. Getting ready for a second nesting? Here fritillaries and three tiger swallowtails on monarda and coneflowers. Gorgeous hummingbird moth at pink butterfly bush. Yellow and black, not the hummingbird look-alike moth.

August 1, 13 - Spotted a male Scarlet Tanager perched 20 feet high in Norway Spruce at the edge of the yard. After a minute or two, it fluttered down to another, but smaller, spruce. I couldn't see exactly where it landed, or if there was a young bird in that spruce.

August 1, 15 - First Monarch Butterfly of the summer in the yard this afternoon - sipping nectar on a Lantana. At BU Nature Preserve in the evening, a lovely 8-point buck in velvet in tall grass. Lovely light on the buck. Very tame.

August 1, 16 - Observed recently fledged junco at feeder. Bold stripes on side. Head not fully gray yet. Only one bird fledged from this nest in our window box.

August 2, 06 - All three of my monarch caterpillars have gone into chrysalis stage.

August 2, 07 - Peeping from young in cardinal nest at top of yew by house. Both parents actively feeding. Very hot weather brings the crickets out in force at night.

August 2, 08 - Juvenile cardinal lands on deck railing right outside window. Beak on juveniles is black, distinguishing them from females, which they resemble in plumage. Families of birds everywhere.

August 2, 13 - Heard a Great-crested Flycatcher calling in the woods. Haven't heard this bird for several weeks. 

August 2, 14 - Scarlet Tanager calling in the woods at 8 a.m. Five jays at the feeder. Young still mewing loudly for food. Observed a Black-and-White Warbler combing thorn apple trunks at the edge of the yard. First sighting in years. Red-bellied Woodpecker still coming to feeder.

August 2, 15 - Pearl Crescent butterfly nectaring on Black-eyed Susans.

August 2, 16 - On the river... Pair of juvenile Common Mergansers and pair of Wood Ducks. Also two female Mallards, one with 19 young and the other with 9! A few Cedar Waxwings over head and a few singing Indigo Buntings. Avery active Great Blue herons, with a lot of squawking. Saw 4 Spotted Sandpipers flying in a line, with the last two peeping. Also say pairs of Green Herons and many Kingfishers. Four clumps of Cardinal flower, many clumps of Yellow-headed Coneflower and a few clumps of white Boneset. Spooked a juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron out of tall grass at river's edge.

August 3, 06 – Red-breasted nuthatch calling in morning. Very hot – cicadas whine and lone cricket chirps.

August 3, 07 - Pair of juncos erupt from rhododendrons at my approach, then scold. A second nesting? During peak of mid-day heat, a red-eyed vireo begins singing. 

August 3, 08 - I discover numerous bolete mushrooms in mature woods, mostly under big oaks. This is Boletus edulus, a choice wild edible. Also come upon four or five poisonous jack-o-lantern mushrooms.

August 3, 09Small batch of chanterelles discovered on truck path under large white oak. 

August 3, 10 - At CV State Park. Photograph juvenile wood duck perched on log in shallow canal. Also observe Cucumber vine and lobelia in flower. Red and white admiral butterflies on sun-dappled woodland trail.

August 3, 13 - Visited Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge near Seneca Falls. Highlight was photographing a Red-headed Woodpecker. The bird was spotted in a forest of flood-killed hardwoods. Dozens of dead trees offered insects for eating and possible locations for excavating a nest cavity. In fact, while we watched, one bird flew to a nest hole with a food item in its mouth. It poked its head in the hole, fed the item to another adult, and then entered. Immediately, the other bird flew out. Another great bird this day was a Marbled Godwit. This large shorebird is very rare in the eastern US. Also, we observed at least one, and perhaps several more, Giant Swallowtail butterflies on the Seneca River Trail.

August 3, 14 - Evening Primrose has appeared on local roadsides. At least 15 Turkey Vultures soaring above Binghamton University Nature Preserve.

August 3, 16 - Paddling at local wetland, I got very good photos of a Green heron fishing at water's edge. Also glided up on a  dozen Ring-billed Gulls perched on an exposed log in the river channel. Photographed Joe-Pye-Weed, Spike Rush and Boneset. Observed on Caspian Tern flying low up the channel. 

August 4, 06 – Smallmouth Run river float. First summer osprey circling. Song sparrows continue singing along river – many pairs as I float along. Pale blue damselflies mate on my kayak. Young mergansers still can’t swim – stir up quite a wake as they motor downstream. Red-tail screams overhead – youngster following parent. Here – Cooper’s Hawk calls like sapsucker circling low over pond.

August 3, 15 - Red-bellied Woodpeckers calls 4-5 times at 7:30 a.m. Starlings feeding on Staghorn Sumac flowers at edge of coffee shop parking lot.

August 4, 07 - Encountered a broad-winged hawk in lower woods. It flew to a branch where I could see it was holding prey that looked much larger than a mouse. It then flew to a tree farther away carrying the prey in its talons.

 August 4, 08 - Sauteed my edible bolete mushroom - delicious.

August 4, 09 – On the river. Luxuriant beds of cardinal flower on banks below Lander’s Corners launch site. Most I have seen, perhaps due to the cool, rainy summer we’ve had. Low 80s with a strong south wind. Otselic at 1.8 following heavy rains several days ago. Caught five fish on crayfish: 8-inch perch, 6-inch rock bass, 7-inch and 10-inch smallmouth bass and a 17.5 inch walleye. Caught walleye in narrow channel near secret spot. Saw a splashy rise, cast to that spot and caught the fish on first cast.

August 4, 10 - Bird bath continues to attract visitors as warm, dry weather continues. Today, a male goldfinch perched on the edge and dipped down to drink three or four times before departing.

August 4, 11 - Observed first Giant Swallowtail butterfly ever while visiting Guilford, CT. It was flying about on wooded road dappled with sunshine. Also observed numerous Eastern Amberwings fluttering ust over lily pads.

August 4, 14 - Male Goldfinch drinking at the bird bath. Loud screeching the back woods for 10 minutes this afternoon. Sounds like a bird of prey, but I'm guessing Blue Jay. They are wonderful mimics.

August 4, 15 - At Whitney Point... Photographed a female Monarch, plus Pearl Crescent butterfly. Monarch was resting, a female. Plenty of milkweed around there if she decides to lay eggs. Young Kingbirds and Grackles about. Glimpse of what looked like a Great Egret flying over the river channel. Also photographed Milkweed pods, Green-headed Coneflower, Arrowhead and Pickerel Weed.

August 4, 17 - We arrive at Spokane airport at 1 p.m., rent a car and arrive at our hosts by 2 p.m. Their bird feeder and bath are jumping with action. I photograph a Song Sparrow and House Sparrow bathing and drinking.

August 5, 06  - Hummingbird moth at petunias in back. Doe and two fawns in back yard for photos. Also photographed monarch chrysalises. Cut wood in lower woods. Tops of two Norway spruce had been snapped by violet thunderstorm mid-week. Top five feet knocked off. Loaded with cones. Heavy and green. Took home for photos. Also, a large limb from black birch knocked down and across trail. Photographed spruce cones and also cones and needles of larch. Four chickadee young are always together. They like hanging out on the gutter in front of house, dropping in – and out of sight – to have a drink and then popping back. Four fledgling juncos also hang together. They are brown and streak-breasted like sparrow. Three jay young also hang together, often coming to the feeder in a group.

August 5, 07 - We continue to remove many Japanese beetles from foliage and flowers, most notably monarda and rose-of-sharon. However, there are no gypsy moth or tent forest caterpillar larvae in the oak trees.

August 5, 08 - On the river ... Flush a great horned owl while floating down a quiet side channel. Perched in high deciduous tree overhead. Flew off immediately. Six or seven clumps of cardinal flower in four mile stretch. Lovely clumps of green-headed coneflower also. Viceroy butterfly observed. Song sparrows, wood pewees, chickadees still singing. Sharp-shinned hawk fly high over the river. Floated by two bucks standing by the river. They looked identical - good-sized with nice antler racks in velvet. They bounded into brush when they saw us.

August 5, 09 – Visited 300-acre farm in Harpursville. Several phoebes perching on fence wires. Large flock of barn swallows hunting overhead in pasture. Osprey flies over hilltop pond.

August 5, 10 - First Monarch Butterfly of the season in yard. Three hen turkeys with 8 young at feeder.

August 5, 11 - Family of recently fledged juncos buzzing around the yard. Looks like at least three juveniles. Also, a flicker feeding in grass beneath Scotch pine.

August 5, 12 - A flock of several hundred, Common Grackles has been here the past two days. They came twice today, perching in trees by the yard, foraging on the forest floor and lawn. Yesterday several bathed in the garden pool. They roll through the yard, 20 or 30 picking up and flying to a point ahead of the lead group of grackles. After 15 minutes or so, they've departed. They all look the same - brown, like females.

August 5, 14 - SIX Blue Jays mobbing the feeder today. 

August 5, 16 - Walking along path at local wetland, I heard a sharp kee-kee-kee. Looking up, I saw two Bald Eagles perched near the top of a tall White Pine on the other side of the water - one adult and one juvenile, five feet apart. Thirty Ring-billed Gulls and one Double-crested Cormorant perched on semi-submerged log in shallows of adjoining lake. Identified Spreading Dogbane at edge of wetland. Pairs of string bean-like seed pods a good field mark. Least sandpipers observed in main wetland pool.

August 5, 17 - Record heat continues in Spokane. Around the house, I photograph juvenile Calliope Hummingbirds at Salvia and other flowers. A family of Western Bluebirds convenes at leaking junction of wellhead and hose in back yard. We visit the chicken coop of friends down the road, where my hosts partner up with these folks to harvest eggs.

August 6, 07 - Joe-pye-weed, vervain, black-eyed susans, chicory, jewelweed and evening primrose all in flower. Goldfinches very active now and should be nesting, because thistle is starting to go to seed. They use the fluffy parachute material attached to the seeds for nest lining.

August 6, 08 - A pair of chickadees chasing one another around inside basketball net on the driveway. E-mail from Tioga County resident reporting sighting of bobcat crossing road with gray squirrel in its mouth. 

August 6, 10 - Active day at the butterfly bush, with Monarch, Tiger Swallowtail and Great Spangled Fritillary all sipping nectar.

August 6, 11 - Broad-winged hawk calling loudly in lower woods.

August 6, 13 - I take three wasp stings as I'm clearing a pile of year-old firewood off the ground in the woods.

August 6, 14 - Five Ravens soaring overhead this morning. First there were two, appearing from the south; then three more. Lots of croaking involved. All drifted northward and out of sight.

August 6, 15 - Floated the Chenango River. Several Wood Ducks and a flock of 7 Hooded Mergansers. Numerous sightings of Green Heron, Spotted Sandpipers and Kingfishers. Also multiple sightings of migrating Solitary Sandpipers. Heard at least 6 singing Indigo Buntings and viewed a pair of juvenile Kingbirds. Have seen at least 5 or 6 sets of juveniles this summer.

August 6, 16 - A close fly-over by two croaking ravens this afternoon. 

August 6, 17  - Last full day in     Spokane. Photographed Magpies and House Finches at feeder. Enjoyed dried apricots from the trees of our hosts. Set sight for McNary National Wildlife Refuge near Kennewick at noon. Arrived at 3 p.m. to 100-degree heat. No wildlife action on desert drive except a male Kestrel winging high overhead.

August 7, 07 - River float at 7:30 a.m. Thick fog made several creatures less afraid at our approach by kayak. Doe and fawn stood on the bank watching us. Several green herons lingered on low branches at river's edge without flying away. Solitary sandpiper feeding along riverbank. Season's first migrating shorebird? Song sparrows, cardinal, yellow warbler still singing. Nine barn swallows hunting insects over the river. Monarch butterfly nectaring on purple loosestrife. Damselfly with black-tipped brown wings that featured a small white spot at the end of each wing.

August 7, 08 - Mourning cloak in the yard. Hummingbirds actively feeding on monarda.

August 7, 10 - Photographed damselfly at CV State Park. Head and thorax bright blue. Haven't identified it yet.

August 7, 12 - Awoke at 3 a.m. to hear a Screech owl calling in back woods. The bird called for three or four minutes.

August 7, 13 - Once again, a male Scarlet tanager appears at the edge of the yard. Once again I look for juveniles in the area and can't see any.

August 7, 14 - On the Chenango River... Observed 3-4 Bald Eagles. Three were juveniles; one an adult. The adult had pure white head and tail, but still had some white streaking on the body. Also saw two Great Egrets along the banks. One Solitary Sandpiper observed.

August 7, 15 - I am reading in the side yard in late morning when I hear the distinctive buzzing of wings behind me. A Hummingbird is visiting one of our bee balm (monarda) flowers after another for nectar. 

August 7, 16 - Observed Monarch Butterfly on a Milkweed plant at BU Nature Preserve.

August 7, 17 - We drive from Kennewick WA to Sisters, OR via Fossil, OR and the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. Very impressive multi-layered, multi-colored rock formation, plus impressive fossils from 40 to 5 million years ago at the interpretive center. We arrive in Sisters to find Steller's Jays and Mountain Chickadees at the feeder.

August 8, 07 - Loud "kak, kak, kak" in woods by bird feeders. Initially I think it is either a sharp-shinned or Cooper's hawk. However, the birds continue feeding without alarm. Suddenly there are two blue jays at the feeder. I change my mind and figure one of them is imitating the hawk sound. Jays are great mimics and do several birds of prey very well. 

August 8, 08 - Six turkey vultures circling suburban neighborhood I passed through at 9 a.m.

August 8, 10 - Photographed Hummingbird Moth at butterfly bush.

August 8, 12 - On the reservoir at Whitney Point... Numerous Cedar Waxwings and Barn Swallows catching insects overhead. Also a pair of Kingbirds. Several Kingfishers and Ring-billed Gulls. Dragonflied observed over the water: Eastern Amberwing, Widow Skimmer, Green Darner and Twelve-spotted Skimmer.

August 8 - 13 - At least two robin fledglings are foraging in the yard with their parents daily. They enjoy picking through the shredded bark compost around our garden pond. We saw one bathe in the pond this morning. They also are feeding actively on honeysuckle berries.

August 8, 14 - Bird families continue using the feeder all day. Today it was a group of Tufted Titmice, elbowing their way past the ever-present juvenile Blue jays that have camped out near our sunflower seeds hopper. The first acorns have started to fall. Heard a lone cicada this afternoon. Lack of hot weather this summer seems to have curtailed their whining immensely (thus far).

August 8, 15 - We spot a Gray Fox at the edge of the yard by back woods, at 7 p.m. - carrying a chipmunk in its mouth. Just today, we made note of the relative lack of chipmunks here during the past two weeks. Correlation?

August 8, 16 - Heard Screech Owl calling at 2 a.m. in back woods. It gave about 8 deciding shinnies and ended those with one monotone whinnying call.

August 8, 17 - Sisters, OR... Our first day birding with guide Steve Shunk. We sat at a small spring and its small puddle, both emerging from a desert hillside, and both infusing the surrounding land with greenery, Dozens of songbirds appeared over the stream, hopping down to drink and bathe. Warblers encountered included Macgillivray's, Hooded, Nashville and Hermit, plus Cassin's Finch and Cassin's Vireo.

August 9, 06 – RB Nuthatch calling.

August 9, 07 - Floated the Chenango, 7:45 a.m. to 10 a.m. Level at 1.95 feet. Bumped bottom a couple times but never had to get out of the boat to get through a riffle. Fog on the river. Birds still singing - yellow-throated vireo among them. Green herons squawking - a pair of them together. Also saw blue herons and kingfishers in pairs. Hen mallard with nine young. Three phoebes. Waxwings. Green-headed coneflower at its peak in clumps along bank. Red-tailed hawk on the riverbank flies up to a dead stub in corn field.

August 9, 10 - Several Great Egrets still spending time on Chenango River, near towpath area off Rte. 88. Rivers are very low. Several dozen Ring-billed Gulls are seen daily in shallow riffle area along towpath section of the Chenango.

August 9, 11 - August 16, 11 - Several cedar waxwings in honeysuckle at edge of yard.

August 9, 12 - Floated the river. Many waxwings over every riffle. Juvenile Green Herons still hanging out in the favorite spots. Several Belted Kingfishers hanging out where they usually are - quite near an obvious burrow site in high bank. One Solitary Sandpiper observed on gravel bars. Many clumps of Green-headed Coneflowers on banks.

August 9, 13 - Observed a male Scarlet Tanager landing on stones that surround our garden pond. It stayed a minute or two before flying up to an oak above the pond. Also, the Red-eyed Vireo was singing today. How much longer this summer will that go on?

August 9, 14 - In Guilford, CT. The only bird singing is a Wood Pewee, which begins around 4:30 and sings briefly for 10-15 minutes.

August 9, 17 - Sisters, OR... We walk and drive through large forest burn areas, seeking Three-toed and Black Backed Woodpeckers. They eat larvae of boring insects in dead or dying trees. No woodpeckers to be found. We do encounter a female Williamson's Sapsucker in an evergreen, several White-headed Woodpeckers feeding on trees in Clear Springs Campground and a dozen or more Pinyon Jays at feeders and bird bath outside the Best Western in Sisters.

August 10 - 15, 08 - Trip to wilderness camp in Quebec, about 50 miles west of La Touque. Bird List: Spruce Grouse (two males), Ruffed Grouse, Boreal Chickadee, Red Crossbill (large flock flying across lake into spruce forest), Evening Grosbeak, Black-capped Chickadee, Goldfinch, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Magnolia Warbler, Raven, Merlin, Osprey, Loon, Ring-necked Duck, Hooded Merganser, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Butterfly List: White Admiral, Clouded Sulphur, Meadow Fritillary, Aphrodite Fritillary, Green Comma, Eastern Comma, Mourning Cloak.

August 10, 10 - At CV State Park... Observed White Admiral butterfly, Ebony Jewelwing damselfly. Heard kingfisher, catbird and crow. First Gray and Silky Dogwood berries appearing.

August 10, 11 - Today is robins' turn to be gorging on honeysuckle berries. I count 10 small Leopard Frogs in small garden pond.

August 10, 14 - In Guilford, CT. We find the breast feather of a Barred Owl on the road. Shows the pale browning barring clearly. These bids are still calling around the house here.

August 10, 15 - Paddled in a favorite wetland. Thick beds of Pickerel Weed, Spike  Rush, Cattail, Arrowhead and Yellow Pond Lily all thriving. 

August 10, 17 - In Oregon... Observed a lone Dipper, perched on a rock by the side of the Metolious River. It did not hunt while we were there. I photographed Mourning Cloak butterfly on rocks by the edge of the stream. In the afternoon, a male Williamson's Sapsucker landed on a pine tree at eye level, only 20 feet or so from the house.

August 11, 06 – Two rb nuthatches are now feeding at lower sunflower feeder. Very active and frequent visitors.

August 11, 07 - Japanese beetles continue their assault on Rose-of-Sharon foliage and flowers. Very few butterflies in the yard, although the butterfly bush is blooming profusely.

August 11, 11 - On the river. Lovely look at adult bald eagle, flying low over the river as we stood on the bank. Also observed first Solitary Sandpiper of the late summer. Ebony Jewelwing buzzed the kayak. 

August 11, 12 - Staring to see Monarch Butterflies on a daily basis now - not high numbers but several each day.

August 11, 15 - Hummingbird working the Monarda flowers in side garden. At noon, with skies misty and threatening rain, I hear a heron squawk overhead. There are two Great Blues, several hundred feet high, about 20 yards from one another. As they squawk, a heavy shower begins. perhaps they are headed for a pond that lies over the hill.

August 11, 17 - In Oregon, we return to the Best Western in Sisters, where I photograph White-headed Woodpecker and Pygmy Nuthatch. 

August 12, 07 - Friend in So. Montrose reports bobcat returned to his yard and caught a woodchuck there.

August 12, 11 - Monarch, great-spangled fritillary and common wood nymph on butterfly bush.

 August 12, 12 - Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge... More than a dozen Caspian Terns, plus numerous Least and Semi-palmated Sandpipers. Other shorebirds: Pectoral and Solitary Sandpiper, Killdeer, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs. A pair of Trumpeter Swans at Knox-Marcellus Wetland. Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of Great Blue Herons at Knox, plus a number of Great Egrets.

August 12, 14 - The only bird singing today: a Red-eyed Vireo.

August 12, 15 - The only bird singing today: Wood Pewee briefly at 6:30 p.m.

August 12, 16 - At the local wetland... Photographed Green Heron. Sneezeweed in bloom. Berries on Red Osier Dogwood and Elderberry quickly ripening. Juvenile Bald Eagle overhead. Many young Kingbirds and Goldfinches about. Halloween Pennant dragonflies laying eggs while flying in tandem. Many Eastern Amberwings and Widow Skimmers flying about. 

August 13, 06 – Chenango River float. Level perfect. Water very clear. Clear and cool weather. No fish. Saw a mink running down Chenango Rte. 32. Dark. Faster and smaller than a woodchuck. Pair of hooded merg young on river. Many waxwings. At home, first monarch appeared around 4 p.m. It hung on wire until 9 a.m. the next morning when sunlight warmed it and off it flew down the cut in the driveway. Pileated flew right across lawn and 20 feet from me as I watered new grass. Landed in side woods on fallen aspen trunk. Had been calling front woods before that. A juvenile At a friend's house, I was standing on his deck around 4 p.m. Gazing skyward I noticed a commercial jet approaching quite low, headed for the airport. I asked my friend to look up and take note. As the jet passed over, I noted two birds of prey soaring very high, seemingly at the same altitude. After the jet passed, I continued watching the birds. One was huge, with black wings. When it soared in front of white clouds I could see nothing for a tail or head. But when it soared with blue sky behind it, I could clearly see the white head and tail of an adult bald eagle. The second bird was a red-tailed hawk, normally appearing large but dwarfed by the eagle. Very high in the sky. 

 August 13, 07 - First migrating osprey sighted on the river.

August 13, 14 - Young jays still visiting the feeder constantly and begging just as much from their parents. Got a one-second glimpse of a large Fisher this evening. It ran across a wooded lane and up into the upper woods.

August 13, 15 - Here at home... Gray Fox enters the yard from back woods and skirts it briefly at 4 p.m. On the river... Many Killdeer and Spotted Sandpipers. One Solitary Sandpiper. A pair of adult Bald Eagles perched five feet apart in tree overhanging the river (near a deer carcass on shore). Numerous Kingfishers, a few Green Herons and Waxwings, 4-5 Hooded Mergansers and 6 Common Mergansers. The only birds we heard were Goldfinches.

August 13, 16 - A Great Spangled Fritillary in the yard, nectaring on coneflowers. Not a good butterfly year, with smaller numbers of all species present.

August 14, 06 – Monarch flies away. Two other chrysalises getting very dark.

August 14, 07 - Red-breasted nuthatch visiting sunflower feeder. Two appeared last year at about the same time.

August 14, 09 – On the Otselic… Adult bald eagle perched in dead tree, wings drooping and extended, drying them. Hummingbird feeding on jewelweed nectar. Three juvenile green herons together.  Black swallowtail on Joe-pye weed.

August 14, 12 - On the river... Observed a buck white-tail at river's edge. Velvet antlers were single curled spikes about 12 inches long. Best birding moment: watching a pair of Eastern Kingbirds noisily chase a Green heron from a tree where both species were perched. At home: three Goldfinches observed on seed heads of Black-eyed Susans.

August 14, 14 - Very few butterflies in the yard this year. No monarchs thus far, and very few fritillaries. We watched a Tufted Titmouse land on the hummingbird feeder and drink from one of its portals. Then a hummingbird arrived, only to have the titmouse chase it away!

August 14, 15 - Same butterfly assessment of this year as the one outlined in 2014 (above). This evening, I watched four dragonflies darting about on the 10x30-yard section of lawn in back yard. They did this for at least 15 minutes. Looked like they were hunting. Had not seen them before.Large, with dark heads and blue abdomens. I am surmising they may have been migrating and stopped for the night to stock up on the numerous gnats we have been battling for the past two weeks.

August 14, 16 - Wood Pewee continues to sing and hunt at the edge of the woods - our most vocal bird at this time.

August 15 – Bear in the yard. 150 – 200 pounds. Feeder raid.

August 15, 11 - On the river... thick clumps of green-headed coneflower and several cardinal flowers observed. Flushed a group of 5-6 hooded mergansers. Several Indigo Buntings still singing.

August 15, 12 - Photographed Question Mark butterfly in overgrown meadow. Resting in tall grasses. Tell-tale tiny white "question mark" on its underwing. Severely angled wings.|


August 16, 08 - Hundreds of red pine cones have fallen and are littering the forest floor. Five great spangled fritillaries on the butterfly bush at one time. Hummingbird moth also a regular there.

August 16, 11 - White admiral flies through yard. Cedar waxwings feeding on honeysuckle berries. Wood pewee sings briefly.

August 16, 14 - 8:30 a.m. Broad-winged Hawk perched on phone wire 1/4 mile below our house. At 5 p.m., twin fawns eating grass in yard near house. I opened the door and took a picture. This caused them to run into the woods and 30 yards across it to where their mother was standing. Immediately they both began nursing vigorously, tails wagging madly. Mother allowed this for 30 seconds before walking forward and dislodging her twins.

August 16, 15 - Paddled around in my favorite wetland. Many Eastern Amberwings and Widow Skimmers chasing each other about. One 12-spotted Skimmer. No mating or laying of eggs. White Boneset in bloom at wetland edge. Kingfisher hovering and diving. Kingbirds active on shoreline.

August 16, 16 - At Montezuma Refuge... Eight Yellowlegs were the only shorebirds. Many young Pied-billed Grebes and Gallinules  with their parents in main pool. Purple Martins already gone. Pair of Trumpeter Swans feeding and flying (with trumpet calls).

August 16, 17 - Our hummingbirds are still here. Male and females feeding at nectar feeders.

 August 17, 12 - Several Goldfinches perched on Black-eyed Susans in yard, eating seeds from seed heads. At Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge near Seneca Falls... Got a life bird, the Buff-breasted Sandpiper. This is a rare migrant - only in fall - through the Northeast. Beautiful coloration. Nests in the High Arctic; winters in Argentina. Also viewed Solitary, Least, Semi-palmated and Pectoral Sandpipers, as well as Greater Yellowlegs and Semi-palmated Plover.

 August 17, 14 - Hummingbird sipping from Trumpet Vibe flowers by kitchen window. The bird then dropped down to a  planter and sipped from Lantana and a bright red annual we have planted for the first time this year.

August 17, 15 - Hen and six young turkeys crossing the road by water tank. Pair of Mourning Doves drinking in garden pond at sunset.

 August 18, 11 - Pair of recently fledged chipping sparrows in yard.

August 18, 06 – Lesser yellowlegs on the Chenango River. Short call. Immature bald eagle there also. Very dark with white on the back. A few birds still singing: song sparrow, phoebe, tanager and yellow warbler. Blue jay bathes in garden pond.

 August 18, 12 - Very few birds singing these days, but I did hear a Red-eyed Vireo this morning. It didn't sing long, though, indicative this time of year.

August 18, 14 - red-eyed Vireo and Wood PeWee the only birds singing. I did hear the "wika-wika-wkia" from a Flicker this morning. Also this a.m., five turkeys were under the feeder: four hens and a Tom with a 5-inch beard. Turkeys have been scarce here this summer. At 11 a.m. a flock of 30-plus Grackles arrived, mobbing the feeder. None had the brilliant plumage of spring - probably adults molting and juveniles. They stayed 20 minutes drifting away to the west. 

August 18, 15 - At local wetland... Photographed Black Swallowtail nectaring on Purple Loosestrife. Also got pics of a type of Meadowhawk but haven't had time yet to pinpoint which one. Observed immature Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, DC Cormorant and Great Egret. Photographed dead-ripe Elderberries. Also watched 8-10 Wood Ducks erupt from wetland pool.

August 18, 16 - At wetland, photographed Marsh Wren and Sora - both juveniles - in dense clump of cattails. Sneezeweed if flowering. Red-osier Dogwood berries ripe.

August 19, 09 – Otselic at 2. Very high. Bunting, oriole, yt vireo still singing a bit. Great blue herons flying together. On the reservoir… Great egret perched near point at Upper Lisle Park. Turtle head growing along bank on way to point. Adult eagle lifts off Basset Road at spot where road-killed rabbit is lying. Viceroy butterfly on Joe pye weed.

August 19, 11 - First juvenile robin of season in yard

August 19, 12 - Great-spangled Fritillary, Painted Lady and Monarch butterflies feeding on coneflowers.

August 19, 14 - With a dry spell upon us, bird bath and garden pond are being visited frequently by songbirds. Saw Blue Jays and Mourning Doves drinking at birdbath.

August 19, 15 - At Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge.. 2 Stilt Sandpipers, 100 Lesser Yellowlegs, 10 Greater Yellowlegs, 25 Pectoral Sandpipers, 10 Caspian Terns, 1 Least Sandpiper, 1 Semi-palmated Sandpiper and 1 Semi-palmated Plover.

August 19, 16 - At local wetland... Photographed baby Painted Turtle from two feet away. Juvenile Bald Eagle soared over the kayak fairly low. Encountered a Green Heron hunting on a log at water's edge.   

August 20, 08 - On the river... Singing birds: red-eyed vireo, song sparrow, goldfinch, Carolina wren. Hundreds of cedar waxwings all along the river. Spotted sandpipers still present. Also observed migrating solitary sandpiper and greater yellowlegs (five-note call). Several sightings of mature bald eagle. Great lobelia and boneset identified. Also a nice clump of 5-6 cardinal flowers.

August 20, 11 - Drove to Ct to see my son. Two red fox observed killed by cars on I-84.

August 20, 12 - A juvenile Broad-winged Hawk landed on top of the pole to which our basketball net is attached - right at the edge of the driveway. This happened at 2 p.m. The bird stayed for two or three minutes, staring down, before flying into the forest. After it left, a chipmunk scolded for 5 minutes or so. Pileated Woodpecker calling and drumming.

August 20, 13 - Floated the river. Observed two Pectoral Sandpipers, plus a lone Solitary Sandpiper - feeding on mudflats. Cardinal flowers are blooming. Watched a Kingbird chase a Chimney Swift away from a spot on the river where the Kingbird likes to catch flying insects. There was a close chase for 30 seconds over the river before the swift flew on. Also came upon a flock of 15 juvenile Common mergansers - just able to fly.

August 20, 15 - Two ravens soaring and circling overhead, drifting NE. One croaking loudly. Dueling Wood pewees in the back woods, singing only 40 yards from one another. 

August 20, 15 - Gazing up around 5 p.m., I watched a Broad-winged Hawk soar over the driveway, heading west. Very little broad-wing activity this summer, although we did encounter a juvenile in the woods a month ago. A Monarch butterfly flitted through the flowers at Hillside Gardens nursery wile we were there.

August 21, 08 - Encountered a young red fox while driving down forested road. Still quite small, it was trotting down the road when I approached; then veered off as I got closer. Cabbage butterflies working the nectar-bearing shrubs in yard, but other butterflies are absent.

August 21, 09 – On the river. Level at 1.5. Cool, clear and beautiful. At Smallmouth Run – 6 or 7 bass, three of which were about 12 inches. Also two 12-inch walleye and a rock bass. All caught in one hour on crayfish.

August 21, 11 - In CT... Pileated woodpecker flew over the house. Red-bellied woodpecker calling close-by, as was Carolina wren. Found nice Puffball mushroom in the yard.

August 21, 15 - Watched hummingbird feed on a dozen flowers from Trumpet Vine until another zoomed in and chased it away. Ravens low over the back yard, croaking. Have seen them several times this week. Heard Bluejay make three different calls in five minutes: pee-ee and kak-kak calls, plus squeaky gate sound. At local wetland: Photographed Meadow Fritillary, Meadow Hawk and Comma butterflies, plus Song Sparrow.

August 21, 16 - Hummingbirds very actively chasing each other off our feeders. Atlas two males are involved, plus others. Wood Pewee is the most active singer in the forest.

August 22, 06 – Squirrels chucking loudly at one another. Six chipmunks feeding below and around side yard feeder.

August 22, 07 – Male hummers appear to have left already. Much action around feeders but without males. Watched a hummer chase a mourning dove 100 yards at Upper Lisle – right on the dove’s tail.

August 22, 08 - Screech owls calling at 4:30 a.m. Calls sounded like young birds learning how to do it.

August 22, 09 – On the river… More good fishing. Several nice bass at riffle. Best 14 inches. For the first time, I fished the run below confluence of Merrill Brook and the river. Hooked two 15-16-inch bass on crayfish. Photographed pollen-laden honeybees on sneezeweed. Acorns dropping from white oak in back yard.

August 22, 11 - Photographed several species of dragonflies on lake in CT. First one identified was Eastern Amberwing. Many beech nuts and hickory nuts on driveway. Both Tulip and Sassafras trees present.

August 22, 12 - Pileated Woodpecker still calling and drumming. This has been going on for at least a week. Establishing fall feeding territory? That would be my guess. Painted Lady still flying about. Red-eyed Vireo sang briefly.

August 22, 15 - Family of five Juncos foraging in side yard. In the evening, migrating steadily south over the football stadium at Colgate University, a Common Nighthawk.

August 23, 08 - Three great spangled fritillaries at butterfly bush. No monarchs sited in travels about the area.

August 23, 09 – Pair of ravens circling the house. Nice round circle, about 40 feet apart. Several times one bird would telescope its wings and dive down for two or three feet before re-opening them. When this happened, the other raven would croak. After circling for several minutes, the two broke away and winged their way south rapidly, disappearing quickly from view.

 August 23, 11 - Tattered Red-spotted Purple butterfly at butterfly bush - perhaps a hybrid with White Admiral.

August 23, 14 - Four-inch-long Ring-necked Snake spotted in gravel near garage. Deep purplish body and yellow neck ring already established.

August 23, 15 - Red-eyed Vireo and Wood Pewee still singing in the morning. Pewee perched on a dead branch at yard's edge, allowing me a rare view. This is the bird I have seen swooping recently from the woods to grab small moths flying in the yard.

August 24, 08 - Female scarlet tanager foraging in shrub loaded with honeysuckle berries. Hummingbirds at monarda and trumpet vine regularly, but no males around.

August 24, 14 - Heard a lone Canada Goose honking overhead at 6:30 this morning. Haven't heard or seen a goose here since spring. Looked for some thorn apples to photograph and had a hard time finding any. A few are available, but it appears they have had a poor year.

August 24, 15 - Pileated Woodpecker flies in front of the car at BU Nature Preserve. This is the second pileated fly-by in a week. The first took place at Montezuma Nat. Wildlife Refuge. At local wetland... photographed a Hairsteak butterfly nectaring on clover blooms, plus Kingbird, Queen Anne's Lace, Virginia Creeper and Jewelweed.

August 24, 16 - Several Ravens calling and soaring overhead.

August 25, 08 - Loud calling of crows at 5 p.m., interspersed with loud croaking of a raven. Quite close.

August 25, 13 - Monarch butterfly on butterfly bush. Very few seen thus far.

August 25, 14 - Saw a buck in velvet while driving through the Binghamton University Nature Preserve. Main antlers were 8 inches long and an inch thick, with inch-long forks at the end of each antler. Wood Pewee still singing in upper woods.

August 25, 15 - Ravens flying low over the house, croaking in the morning. Wood Pewee hunting again from a perch at edge of side woods.

August 25, 16 - Male Rose-breasted Grosbeak and juvenile male at the feeder. Juvenile starting to get his red V on breast.

August 26, 06 – At a friend's in CT., photographed a spring peeper clinging to the side of his house. X on back visible. Also viewed flock of shorebirds foraging in tidal rocks along LI Sound near Madison. Semi-palmated and spotted sandpipers, turnstones and semi-palmated plover. Very tame. Many monarchs on butterfly bush in butterfly garden.

August 26, 08 - First "chuck chuck" calls of territorial gray squirrels heard this morning. Two hummingbirds actively feeding at feeders and chasing one another from them. 

August 26, 12 - Three Painted Ladies in yard, nectaring on Black-eyed Susans and Lavender. That's the most for this variety all summer. Flushed a bright green Katydid from the depths of a clematis vine while spraying it with water.

August 26, 14 - Several Blue Jays bathing in small garden pond. We must have 8 meadow Frogs in there at this point; most of them small, with the exception of one large frog. Came across a 12-inch garter snake in grass behind the garage. Its colors were vivid, indicating a recent shedding of skin.

August 27, 08 - Flock of a dozen common nighthawks migrating south at 6:30 p.m. Moving right along, fairly high, hawking insects as they went.

August 27, 09 – Otselic at 1.1 – clear and beautiful. Fished with Jeff in the morning. We both caught one nice 13-14-inch smallmouth, plus another 8-incher, a rock bass and two chub. 

August 27, 12 - Heard the faint and brief call of a Red-breasted Nuthatch in the woods here today. Haven't heard or seen this bird on the place for months, Has it been here all along and not calling?

August 28, 06 – Huge pile of green Norway spruce cones at edge of brush pile. Red squirrels midden well-established.

August 28, 08 - Male hummingbird still here, feeding actively at window feeder. Japanese knotweed in full bloom along roadsides.

August 28, 12 – Heard a Red-breasted Nuthatch near base of driveway – first sign of this bird’s presence in months.

August 28, 14 - Adult red fox  crossed the road in front of us, just a quarter mile below the house. It had been hunting in a roadside ditch.

August 28, 15 - Photographed a Wood Pewee at wood's edge. The bird has been hunting insects from the same perch there for a week. We still have two pewees singing every day. Hummingbirds actively feeding on Trumpet Vine flowers.

August 29, 06 – Screech owls calling late at night. 

August 29, 08- Raven calling loudly in morning. Have heard raven several times in the past week or so.

August 29, 14 - Broad-wnged Hawk  drops from phone wire on our road and goes after something on the ground. The hawk's banded tail was clearly visible.

August 30 – Adult Cooper’s hawk attacks doves at feeder.

August 30, 02 – Greater lobelia in several sections of trail at Robert Treman State Park. Gorge.

August 30, 08 - On the river... Several cormorants sighted. Also heard of them via e-mail this week from reader.

August 30 – 09 – Two ravens circling overhead, along with a broad-winged hawk. The ravens stayed close and occasionally came very near the hawk. They soared just as effortlessly as the broad-wing. 

August 30, 12 - Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge... Many yellowlegs, a flock of 8-10 Dowitchers in visitor center pool. Numerous Least Sandpipers. My first Stilt Sandpiper. Dozens of Great Blue Herons and 6 Great Egrets at Knox wetland. Flock of 12 Caspian Terns in visitor center pool.

August 30, 15 - Saw first White Admiral butterfly of the summer fluttering among the branches of a large crabapple tree. Wood Pewee continues to sing and hunt from the edge of the woods. Another pewee calling 50 yards into the woods.

August 31, 15 - At wetland, photographed female Green Darner dragonfly. Black Swallowtail butterfly and several fritillaries also seen. Also observed two Bald Eagles flying over the water. Also photographed Cow Vetch. Six Wood Ducks flew out of the wetland during my stay.


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