Rick Marsi Diary

Following are a collection of sightings and thoughts.

Sightings for October

October Sightings

Oct. 1 – 06. Floated at Upper Lisle. Killdeer (5-6) still on gravel bars at Clay Banks. Numerous monarchs fluttering past. One green darner over the river.  At Brier Hill, discover hen-of-woods on huge oak near fire ring in lower woods.

Oct. 1, 12  - Wellfleet, MA. Two visits to Mass. Audubon sanctuary on Wellfleet Bay. Thousands of migrating Tree Swallows sweeping over dunes and salt marsh. In oak/pine woods, we encounter 4-5 Red-eyed Vireos, plus flickers and Red-breasted Nuthatch. In high meadow, a Peregrine Falcon soared by. Juvenile Northern Harrier hunted the marsh. Scattered Greater Yellowlegs combed mudflats. At Lt. Island bridge, two whimbrels stood in tall marsh grass. Monarch, Painted Lady and Red Admiral butterflies nectared on goldenrod and aster. Afternoon visit to Marconi Beach on ocean side. Small flock of Forster’s Terns diving just beyond breakers. Gray Seal poking its head just above surface. Ocean Sunfish there, too, exposing large rounded brown dorsal fin, the size of a frying pan, above 

Oct. 1, 14 - Dozens of acorns falling on the back yard and deck. Deer feasting on them constantly.

Oct. 1, 15 - Fork-horn buck in the yard this morning. Chickadees and Titmice very actively feeding at feeders I've just put out. Goldfinch at the seeds of Black-eyed Susans. First migrating geese of the season - two flocks - overhead this morning.

Oct. 1, 17 - A good-sized flock of robins in woods and yard most of the day. Pileated Woodpecker and calling and hammering on tree in back woods.

Oct. 1, 18 - First day on the NW coast of Oregon, nearly at the Washington border, where the Columbia River empties into the Pacific. Rain and wind, blowing in from the ocean. Rain is more like a wind-blown mist, but soaking. Visited a huge tidal estuary, but most of the birds were hunkered out of sight. Did see an mature Bald Eagle rise up from perching on the sand to wheel over the water. Checked to see if this bird's presence would scare up some shorebirds, but it did not. Other than that, a flock of 50 crows was about the the visit could yield. Interestingly, when the flock rose out its rooting tree as a single unit, not one bird made a sound.

Oct. 1, 19 - Female YB Sapsucker on large ash in side woods. Carolina Wren making its high-pitched preeting sounds as it investigated several brush piles in the woods. Several Monarchs migrating by.
Raccoon ambles down from upper woods, crosses driveway and heads toward lower woods at 3 p.m. Migratory dragonfly hovering in garage. Large size, dark body.

Oct. 2, 09 - Driving close to my house, I saw a woodpecker cross in front of me, flashing large white patches on upper sides of wings. Stopped, got out and observed the bird on a hardwood tree at the edge of the road. The bird was a juvenile red-headed woodpecker. It showed a trace of red, like a necklace, at base of the head. Also this morning, observed a pair of hermit thrushes in overgrown meadow at Waterman Center. Gorgeous flowering dogwood there also - wine-red leaves and bright red fruits. Sassafras turning yellow. 

Oct. 2, 10 - Birds very active at suet feeder. Woodpeckers and nuthatches much prefer the suet feeder that is attached to tree trunk, as opposed to free-swinging one.

Oct. 2, 10 - Accipiter buzzed the bird feeder. No birds exploded from the ground or feeder when it flew through. Size of a blue jay, so I am thinking sharp-shinned hawk.

Oct. 2, 14 - Paddled the reservoir on a lovely partly sunny day with no wind. Only birds were 3 ring-billed gulls, 3 cormorants (drying their wings at times) and a mature bald eagle flapping front of us with its flight feathers flared.

Oct. 2, 17 - Floated the river. Half a dozen Green-winged Teal and five Mallards. Great Egret still in attendance. Encountered a mink at close range. Looked to be inhabiting an abandoned beaver lodge. Got a very nice photo of a Phoebe, as it perched over the water. Also photographed milkweed seeds bursting from pods.

Oct. 2, 18 - In Oregon... First visit this morning to Fort Stevens State Park. Photographed Old Man's Beard lichen and Sword Fern on walk to observation blind. Viewed a distant Peregrine Falcon perched across the water. 

Climbed an observation deck to look at Pacific and Columbia River confluence. In the ocean, a pair of Horned Grebes, one of them still breeding plumage.
Next, observed a small flock of Cedar Waxwings in park along the Columbia in Warrantor. A number of the birds were juvenile.

After lunch, travelled south to Seaside Cove, a curl of oceanfront featuring baseball-sized cobbles. Photographed Red-throated Loon fishing in the surf. The bird still had red on its throat. Also photographed Herrman's gulls loafing on the beach.
Continued on the Seaside Cove Road and hiked a short distance on trail that leads to top of Tillamook Head. Observed lovely Deer Ferns and large Sitka Spruce.
The drove south to settling ponds outside Cannon Beach. Photographed Osprey in tall Sitka Spruce.
Finally, drove to nearby Ecola State Park, which features huge stands of Sitka Spruce and beds of Sword Fern covering the ground.

Oct. 3, 14 - Robins arrive in late afternoon. I hear them calling in upper woods. This fall's third huge flock of grackles flew into the yard this morning. Many convened at the small garden pond, drinking and bathing. They stayed only 10 minutes.

Oct. 3, 15 - I know have 4-5 Goldfinches actively feeding on seeds from Black-eyed Susans.

Oct. 3, 16 - Thirty Turkey Vultures swirling high over the house at 10 a.m. They did not appear to be headed south. 

Oct. 3, 18 - Visited Cullaby Lake County Park. A lovely lake surrounded by forest. A small distant grebe fishing and diving, but poor light made a positive ID impossible. Steller's Jay scraping out its harsh call amid tall Sitka Spruce. Several loud and communicative Ravens interacting. 
Drove to nearby Sunset Beach State Park, where we discovered a vast hard-sand beach open to vehicles. Very few people at the park. Unfortunately, no shorebirds along the surf-line, just a lone Great Blue Heron.
In the afternoon, we discovered a vast, wide and hard-sand beach at Sunset Beach State Park. Scurrying along it at the surf line were dozens of Sanderlings. Driving on the beach was encouraged, so I was able to putter alongside the Sanderlings as they motored along, photographing them as I went. The vehicle did not phase them at all. Also photographed a Great Blue Heron standing in shallow surf, apparently hoping to snag a small fish, crab or other food item.

Oct. 3, 19 - Cold front moves in, bringing migrant Robins to the side of the road.

Oct. 4, 01 - Osprey flying over the hollow below us.

Oct. 4, 09 - At Cascade Valley near Deposit - Heard what sounded like a singing Blue-headed Vireo. The bird sang a number of times by the roadside.

Oct. 4, 10 - At CV State Park... Flock of Golden-crowned Kinglets, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, WB Nuthatches and Chickadees. Red-bellied Woodpecker calling. Migrating White-throated Sparrow. Nine Wood Ducks on Lily Lake, 6 males among them - all in breeding plumage.

Oct. 4, 15 - Kayaked in local wetland. Sneaked to within 15 yards of a Great Egret, using aquatic plants as shields. Dozens of Tree Swallows over the water. At least 25 Wood Ducks flushed from plants along wetland edge.

Oct. 4, 16 - Watched a lone Raven soaring high over the house this afternoon. Three or four times while I watched, the bird telescoped its wings, causing it to drop ten feet or so at once.

Oct. 4, 18 - Photographed Black Turnstones and Surfbirds at Seaside Cove. Both species breed in northern Alaska and winter along the NW Coast. Both are found on rocky beaches and jetties here in Oregon. They forage by walking among the rocks, feeding on barnacles and limpets attached to them. Both these mollusks are pried from rocks and their shells opened with the birds' distinctly pointed bills.

Oct. 4, 19 - Forty-five female Common Mergansers on the Chenango River. Three female Hooded Mergansers with them. Osprey calling overhead.

Oct. 5 - Report of Ruby-crowned Kinglets in yard at Castle Creek. 

Oct. 5, 09 - Golden-crowned Kinglets in White Pines at Choconut. Also, a Brown Creeper singing several times. Bobcat sighting at Cat Hollow State Forest. The cat crossed a dirt road in thick woods 40 yards in front of the car. Flushed three grouse walking farther down that road. 

Oct. 5, 10 - Walked to a high overgrown meadow above the house. Clogged with berry-producing shrubs: gray dogwood, nannyberry, autumn olive, barberry. Dozens of Cedar Waxwings feeding on autumn olive berries and also catching insects in the air. Dozens of robins. Hundreds of white-throated sparrows, plus several towhees and a flicker. Several white-throats still trying to sing. Photographed wild grapes, plus flowering witch hazel.

Oct. 5, 15 - Another lovely day, another wetland paddle. Oberved: an adult Bald Eagle, perched at lake's edge. A large Darner dragonfly, zooming south over open water at 20 mph. One Monarch on Panicled Dogwood at edge of water (one also seen flying across road on my way to the wetland.) Also, a Kestrel (female, no blue on wings), perched in tree at wetland edge, then heading south over open water. Five or six Yellow-rumped Warblers foraging in trees along wetland. Six Mallards and six Wood Ducks seen at the edge of the water. Great Egret I saw yesterday still here. 3-4 Cormorants have been hanging out on the lake for days (weeks?). At the log home... Several Ruby-crowned Kinglets foraging in honeysuckle over split rail fence. Huge flock of Grackles noisily settles in to back woods at sunset.

Oct. 5, 16 - Small flock of Robins in the upper woods this morning. It seems there have been a few Robins. in the woods every morning for the past week. Also, heard a Barred Owl calling in distant woods. It called twice, 15 seconds apart, at 2 p.m.

Oct. 5, 17 - Paddled wetland and river channel today. Rounded a bend in narrow wetland channel and came upon four Wood Ducks. The closest was a gorgeous male. He nervously paddled away for one second and then all four birds took off. Ruby Meadowhawk dragonflies and blue damselflies mating in flight.  Male damsel is blue; female gray.
Nine Mallards and two Green-winged Teal feeding in six inches of shallows. Great Egret still present where it has been for weeks. Juvenile Bald Eagle soaring high overhead. At least a dozen Monarch Butterflies winging south across the water.
Here at home... Raven croaking overhead. Pair of Blue Jays drinking at bird bath by dining room window.

Oct. 5, 18 - Encountered several herds of Roosevelt Elk, foraging on grasses at the edge of housing developments. Roosevelt is the largest subspecies of North American elk, bigger than Rocky Mountain elk. They are found along the coast of Washington and Oregon. Cruised the beach in high wind and blowing sand. Numerous Sanderlings still foraging, despite the difficult conditions.

Oct. 6, 06 - Gray squirrels running everywhere with nuts in their mouths, stopping to bury them in lawns. 

Oct. 6, 09 - Sunny and 65. On the river, water temp. at 55. Several flocks of robins at river's edge. Small flocks of waxwings. Two monarchs migrating south. Pair of broad-winged hawks soaring high and coming close to one another. Ten turkeys flew across the river in front of us - single file - one every two seconds or so. 

Oct. 6, 14 - Loose flocks of migrating robins seen and heard overhead. Red-bellied Woodpecker a constant presence, with its churring call.

Oct. 6, 15 - First sounds outside this morning: load croak of a raven, close overhead. Then the chuff-chuff of a Red-bellied Woodpecker. Another wetland float today. Two mature Bald Eagles winging fairly low over the water, several minutes apart. Flock of a dozen Cedar Waxwings whispering in flight overhead. Great Egret and Great Blue Heron both seen perched in dead trees overlooking the water. A male Goldfinch observed in tangle at water's edge. Still some bright yellow on his head. In the evening, at least two dozen robins descend on the lawn. Three or four at a time drinking and bathing in the small garden pond.

Oct. 6, 18 - Birds active around the house in OR today, with sun and warm temperatures. A pair of Bewick's Wrens skulks in hedges that surround the back deck. They are curious and emerge periodically, sometimes holding spiders and other prey in their beaks. Northern Flickers hunt ants on the lawn. In flight they flash the red feather shafts on the primary feathers that give them their name, "Red-shafted Flicker." A lone Yellow-rumped Warbler perched in a treetop. Crows outnumber Ravens here, but Ravens are a daily presence.

Oct. 6, 19 - Three or four Goldfinches eating seeds from spent coneflowers. In Paupak, Pa., encountered several Red Eft salamanders in think leaf litter of mature forest.

Oct. 7, 08 - Visited Coventry State Forest. Flushed two woodcock. Fields heavily covered with goldenrod. At home, a monarch flying through the yard. First wooly bear caterpillar seen. 

Oct. 7, 09 - Juncos feeding on seeds of spent flowers on black-eyes susans and coneflower.

Oct. 7, 14 - Pileated Woodpecker  crying out from upper woods.Maples at peak foliage, a week or so earlier than expected. Bumper crop of acorns from red oak. We counted 192 on our deck!

Oct. 7, 15 - Robins still around the yard, this time observed drinking and bathing in birdbath in front of dining room windows. Juncos now feeding on seeds of black-eyed-susans.

Oct. 7, 16 - Floated local river channel. Great Egret still in attendance. Milkweed seeds flying overhead and floating on the river. Driving by cornfield, I observed 100+ Crows. Some were on the ground where the corn had been cut. Others were clinging to stalks eating corn on the cob. Here at home, Goldfinches feeding on seeds from Black-eyed Susans. 

Oct. 7, 18 - Here in northern Oregon for the past week, I've had several sightings of Anna's Hummingbirds in the yard of our rental house. The most recent featured a bird sipping nectar from flowers still blooming in a planter. These birds will spend the winter here, surviving cold and rain, but not having to deal with temperatures too cold to kill them or the food they need. They'll catch spiders when flowers are no longer available.

Oct. 7, 19 - Small flock of migrating Juncos in the yard.

Oct. 8, 02 - Fished the Susquehanna River. Caught a number of small bass, plus one of 6 inches and one of 18. Both taken near new bridge in Apalachin.

Oct. 8, 09 - Spike horn buck rubbing antlers on tree trunk in back woods.

Oct. 8, 15 - The third big flock of Grackles this fall making quite racket in woods below us this morning.

Oct. 8, 16 - Walked at Greenwood Park.Trees: Red Maple (Acer rubrim), Sugar Maple, Goosefoot Maple (Moosewood, Striped Maple), White Pine, Scotch Pine, Red Pine, Douglas Fir, Eastern Hemlock, Shadbush, White Ash, Black Cherry, Yellow Birch, Quaking (Trembling) Aspen, Crab Apple, Red Oak, Pin Oak, Witch Hazel.Shrubs: Maple Leaf Viburnum.Flowering Plants: New England Aster, New York Aster, Curly Dock, Partridge Berry, Wintergreen.Non-flowering Plants: Wood Fern, Hay-scented Fern, Christmas Fern, Hair Cap Moss.Birds: Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Killdeer, Kingfisher (h), Downy Woodpecker, Blue Jay.

Oct. 8, 19 - Thick fog at 8 a.m. Through it, a flock of 30 Red-winged Blackbirds swooped in and landed in several hardwoods at the edge of the yard. They stayed only a minute or two before departing.

Oct. 9, 06 - Mourning cloak butterfly in the yard.

Oct. 9, 09 - Female cardinal feeding juvenile (black bill) at sunflower feeder. 

Oct. 9, 10 - Walk at Cole Park. Photographed Red Maple leaves. Trees observed: Trembling Aspen, gray birch, Yellow Birch, Pin Cherry Red Maple, Sugar Maple, Striped Maple, Silver Maple, red Oak, White Oak, Black Cherry, American Hornbeam (Muscle Wood), Witch Hazel, Basswood, White Pine, Scotch Pine, Eastern Hemlock, Staghorn Sumac, Shagbark Hickory. Shrubs observed: Gray Dogwood, Honeysuckle, Multi-flora Rose. Wildflowers observed: New England Aster, New York Aster, Daisy Fleabane, Queen Anne's Lace, Goldenrod. Ferns observed: New York, Interrupted, Spinulose Wood, Christmas, Sensitive. Also observed: Tree Club Moss (genus Lycopodium), Shelf Fungus. 

Oct. 9, 14 - Our lavender plants are still flowering, and bees are all over them - not honey or bumblebees, but a bumblebee-shaped insect (but smaller) with fuzzy yellow thorax and shiny black abdomen. Also, a band of at least 6 Goldfinches have discovered seed heads on our coneflowers and were feasting on seeds this afternoon. Five deer in the yard as dusk approached. One was a buck with 3-inch-long spike antlers. Some deer ate grass while others munched on the over-abundance of acorns on the ground under our oaks.

Oct. 9, 15 - Flock of 15 Wild Turkeys under the feeder and scratching through the woods. All full-grown. Glanced out my office window to catch sight of a Blue-headed Vireo in maple by the driveway. No doubt a migrant.

Oct. 9, 17 - At 6 p.m. I observe 40 Turkey Vultures gliding low over the house heading south. The wind had just turned NW. At the wetland, five Mallards and 8 Wood Ducks. The Great Egret is still in attendance.

Oct. 9, 18 - Driving one-quarter mile below our house, we observe a very dark Red-tailed Hawk swoop low over the road before crossing into deep woods.

Oct. 9, 19 - At close range, we watch a Brown Creeper foraging on the trunk of a large Red Oak. At one point, it stopped and hammered at something for what seemed like 30 seconds. Not common. They normally are constantly on the move.

Oct. 10, 14 - Juncos have joined goldfinches in picking seeds from the spent blooms on our coneflowers.

Oct. 10, 15 - Foliage walk at CV State Park. Observed the following: Red Maple, Sugar Maple, Red Oak, White Oak, American Beech, Basswood, Sweet Birch, Eastern Hemlock, White Pine, Shagbark Hickory, Witch Hazel, Flowering Dogwood, Maple Leaf Viburnum, Wintergreen, New York Fern, Christmas Fern, Cinnamon Fern.

Oct. 10, 16 - Sharp-shinned Hawk migrating south at 5 p.m. Swirled once over the house before continuing south on a 10-15 mph NW wind.

Oct. 10, 17 - On the river... Cooper's Hawk in riverbank tree and then circling overhead.

Oct. 10, 18 - Monarch butterfly flying through the yard. Also a Red-tailed Hawk dropped down after something just into the back woods. It flew away seconds later. I could not see if it held anything in its talons. 

Oct. 11, 14 - Foliage walk at CV State Park. Trees observed: Trembling Aspen, Big-toothed Aspen, Gray Birch, Red Maple, Sugar Maple, Red Oak, Black Cherry, Shadbush, American Hornbeam (Muscle Wood), Hop Hornbeam (Ironwood), Basswood, Staghorn Sumac, Sycamore, Shagbark Hickory, White Ash. Birds: White-breasted Nuthatch, Belted Kingfisher, Pileated Woodpecker, Great Blue Heron. Flower: New York Aster. Fern: Ostrich Fern.

Oct. 11, 15 - Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk cruises over the house, then down the driveway, then up into the woods. Dark tail a field mark.

Oct.  11, 16 - Paddled the lake and wetland. 65 degrees and sunny, but no turtle sightings. Six Cormorants in the wetland. They were there a week ago. One fly-over - high - by a juvenile Bald Eagle. White-thoated Sparrow and Song Sparrows in shrubs by the lake. Also a cardinal and a perched Phoebe, singing.

Oct. 11, 18 - Almost overnight, our White Pine trees have developed yellow needles, which they will drop by the thousands in our yard and on our driveway. It's what they do every year at time: she their old needles so they can grow new ones.

Oct.11, 19 - At Montezuma NWR... Blue skies and 70 degrees. No wind and no birds in the air. Views of main pool obscured by thick emergent vegetation. Several dozen Green-winged Teal, plus a few Blue-winged Teal, Gadwall and Wigeon present. Also Moorhens and Coots. Several small flocks of Lesser Yellowlegs and Long-billed Dowitchers, plus a lovely Pectoral Sandpiper.

Oct. 12, 14 - Spent a couple hours late in the day at wetland near northern end of Whitney Point Lake. A pair of Cormorants and a pair of Common Mergansers fishing. Belted Kingfisher periodically calling and flying over the lake. Very little wind and no sign of migratory birds.

Oct. 12, 15 - At Whitney Point Lake... Several Cormorants, a dozen Ring-billed Gulls, a singing Song Sparrow and the sound of Goldfinches. Two Monarch butterflies also sighted, plus a tight flock of 15 Common Mergansers in flight over the river channel. No males in the group.

Oct. 12, 16 - Watched a Sharp-shinned Hawk flying south at 5 p.m. It swirled once over the house and then sailed due south - quite high.

Oct. 12, 17 - A dozen or more robins in the yard at 10 a.m. High in the big ash trees and seemingly meandering south. One Pileated Woodpecker in the same tree while another calls across the road.

Oct. 12, 18 - Fork-horn buck pawing the ground at base of large Norway Spruce at edge of back woods. No scraping of branches with its antlers.

Oct, 12, 19 - An adult Red-tailed Hook s woops low through the front yard, then lands in a tree by the road. Rusty red tail clearly visible.

Oct. 13, 14 - Our cat raced to a large glass sliding door in the bedroom at 6:30; then began pawing at the glass. Ten feet away, staring at it, was a large white-tail doe, right at the edge of our deck. A 30-second stare-down ensued, which the cat won when the deer and its fawn ambled over to our nearby garden pond for a drink.

Oct. 13, 16 - Cold front passed through today bringing NW winds. At 4 p.m. three Red-tailed Hawks soared over the house heading south.

Oct. 13, 19 - Red Maples here are at or very near their beautiful peak in color.

Oct. 14, 15 - Walked a property near Waverly. Identified the following species: Trees: White Pine, Eastern Hemlock, Black or White Spruce, Scotch Pine, Red Pine, Red Maple, Sugar Maple, American Beech, Trembling Aspen, Gray Birch, Black Willow, Staghorn Sumac, Red Oak, White Oak. Shrubs: Maple-leaf Viburnum, Multiflora Rose, Autumn Olive. Vine: Virgin’s Bower. Flowers: Goldenrod, New England Aster, New York Aster, Milkweed. Birds: Cardinal, Black-capped Chickadee, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker holes in birch: Dragonfly: Meadow Hawk

Oct. 14, 18 - Red Oak by the driveway has dropped dozens of acorns in the past several days. Swainson's Thrush observed in lower woods by small garage. Migrant. Nests in Adirondacks and Canada. Migrating Robins drop down in late afternoon. Swept up thousands of yellow White Pine needles under two large pines by driveway.

Oct. 15, 09 – Cut a large dead red maple and out popped a flying squirrel. After the tree fell, the squirrel ran to the base of a nearby tree and disappeared into a hollow at the base of the trunk.

Oct. 15, 14 - As I crossed the west branch of the Delaware River outside Deposit, a juvenile Bald Eagle flew over the bridge directly ahead of me.

Oct. 15, 15 - Monarch butterfly sipped nectar from numerous lavender flowers in the yard. Stayed 15 minutes. Also sipped from clematis flowers. Sharp-shinned Hawk perched at edge of woods in back yard. Flushed from large white oak, soared briefly overhead in full sun, and continued southward. Several Goldfinches and Juncos feeding on seeds of Black-eyed Susans.

Oct. 15, 19 - Lovely 8-point buck in the yard at 8 a.m. Shortly thereafter, a spikehorn buck appeared, its spikes curved and about 8 inches long.

Oct. 16, 06 - First hard frost overnight. Maple in side yard dropped many leaves as the morning began to warm. All yellow this year. Saw a monarch flying. The last from an incredible year?

Oct. 16, 10 - Brown Creeper eating suet from cage wired to ash tree at side of yard.

Oct. 16, 08 - Heard a raven croak. Looked out my office window to see two fly low over the house.

Oct. 16, 12 - On the river... Observed 3 juvenile Bald Eagles, perched and flying. Also saw 5 Greater Yellowlegs, 100+ Bonapartes Gulls, 30 Common Mergansers, 2 Wood Ducks, 3 Blue-winged Teal and 1 Lesser Scaup.

Oct. 16, 14 - Put a small hanging sunflower feeder out, after several months of not feeding birds. It took just a few hours for the yard chickadees, nuthatches and titmice to find it.

Oct. 16, 15 - Eight Goldfinches eating Black-eyed Susan seeds. Adult Red-tailed Hawk low over the road. Small flock of Cedar Waxwings at road's edge. Couldn't see what fruits they were eating. Rainbow at 4:30 p.m. Sky half-filled with blue sky and dark rain clouds.

Oct. 16, 16 - Photographed White-breasted Nuthatch and Tufted Titmouse here. Some photos show the nuthatch banging open a seed it had wedged into a little crevice created by a peeled piece of bark on a tree trunk.

Oct. 16, 18 - Cold front overnight brought in temps in the 30s this morning. It also brought in a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, foraging in a large White Pine.

Oct. 16, 19 - Nine Wild turkeys (no Toms) scratching their way through the woods in a steady rain.

Oct. 17, 08 - Four or five Black Scoters rafted up on the Susquehanna River just west of the Chenango confluence.  

Oct. 17, 09 - Harvested a softball-sized hen-of-the-woods mushroom from spreading white oak in lower woods. Observed two bucks in the yard. The first was the small 8-pointer I had seen several days prior. It was standing in the side yard near the Scotch pine. Another had preceded it, and was standing about 30 yards down the trail in the side woods. I assumed it was a doe, but after five minutes or so of watching the 8-pointer, I saw the second deer move toward the road. It was a big buck, looking like a 10-pointer with much bigger antlers. It moved to the road and crossed, with the smaller buck following closely behind. This was the first day of bow hunting season. Both deer probably were moving away from hunters on adjacent land.

Oct. 17, 10 - Four or five black scoters rafted up on Susquehanna behind IJ’s house. 

Oct. 17, 12 - Walked by the river in late afternoon. A few Killdeer calling, three female Common Mergansers observed. Juvenile Cooper's Hawk flew by, low over the river, before landing in tree along bank.

Oct. 17, 15 - A dozen Robins on grass at BU Nature Preserve. A lone Golden-crowned Kinglet in large pine in front woods. I detected it by hearing its faint three-note call.

Oct. 17, 16 - Paddling on the lake, I obeserved there separate Monarch Butterflies steadily flying south.

Oct. 17, 17 - See above. Paddling on the lake I observed 5-6 Monarch Butterflies steadily flying south. Also encountered three Greater Yellowlegs feeding up to their bellies at wetland edge. Sharp-Shinned Hawk - blue jay-sized - winged south across open water. Two Wood Ducks and three Mallards in campground lagoon. Water covered with seeds from milkweed. Ruby meadow hawk dragonflies flying in tandem. First frost of the season.

Oct. 18, 09 – Numerous white-throats, ruby-crowned kinglets, juncos and robins in the yard. Juv. Cooper’s hawk circles overhead, drifting south. White-throats eating berries of gray dogwood.

Oct. 18, 12 - Strong south wind makes it rain Trembling Aspen leaves. Hundreds of falling yellow leaves in the air at once.

Oct. 18, 14 - Came upon a Sassafras tree, its leaves a fiery combination of yellows and reds. At the Yale Bowl in New Haven for a football game... A lone Monarch butterfly fluttered past, 100 feet high, headed for Mexico.

Oct. 18, 15 - A dozen Turkey Vultures circling a nearby neighborhood. No signs of them migrating south yet. First frost of the season.

Oct. 18, 16 - Near sunset, we watched at least 12 Turkey Vultures soaring north over the house - in ones and twos, all heading in the same direction. We think they have a roost somewhere not far away.

Oct. 18, 17 - Cruised dirt roads of NE Pennsylvania. Two soaring Red-tailed Hawks. Make and female Wood Duck in small pond filled with duck weed. White-throated Sparrow. Photographed Maple-leaf Viburnum.

Oct. 18, 18 - At local wetland, I observed 10 Ring-necked Ducks, 3 Mallards, 3 Green-winged Teal and 1 Blue-winged Teal. Strong NW winds all day and very cold. In late afternoon, at home, what looked like a Cooper's Hawk zoomed overhead on set wings, gliding south at around 40 mph.

 Oct. 19, 06 - Chenango River above Greene. Beautiful and warm. Only one GB Heron. No kingfishers, sandpipers, killdeer. Two monarchs, one floating downriver clinging to a stalk of bamboo.

 Oct. 19, 09 – Hermit thrush in the Scotch pine, making a sound I didn’t recognize. Robins in the lower woods.

 Oct. 19, 12 - Several Dark-eyed Juncos clinging to stems of Black-eyed Susans by the house, eating seeds from seed heads.

Oct. 19, 14 - Observed a swirling flock of starlings, perhaps 100 in all, each reacting in a mili-second to the movements of others in the flock. The result: the entire flock changing direction at the very same time.

Oct. 19, 16 - Paddling the lake today, I saw: Great Blue Heron, Kingfisher, female Harrier, juvenile Bald Eagle, 3 Green-winged Teal, one Wood Duck, for Common Mergansers, 6 Double-crested Cormorants, 25 Ring-billed Gulls, three Song Sparrows.

Oct. 19, 18 - Observed a large dragonfly zooming about the year today - one I did not recognize. When this happens in October, I wonder if the dragonfly is migrating south from a location to the north.

 Oct. 20, 12 - Lead a nature walk at Jones Park in Vestal. Highpoint was  encountering a flock of 8 migrating Fox Sparrows. Got very close looks.

Oct. 20, 13 - Red-shouldered Hawk landed in back yard tree at my son's house in CT. We got very good looks. I had heard its distinctive cry in nearby woods the day before.

Oct. 20, 15 - Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. 12 Pectoral Sandpipers, 30 Dowitchers, 30 Sandhill Cranes, 5 Tundra Swans, 10 Pied-billed Grebes, 1,000+ Ring-necked Ducks, 200 Green-winged Teal, 200 Shovelers, 20 Scaup, 20 Gadwall, 20 Wigeon, 10 Mallards. At least 2 juvenile Harriers, 1 Bald Eagles, 2 Red-tailed Hawks.

Oct. 20, 18 - Foliage walk at Cole Park... Birds: Canada Goose, Red-breasted Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Blue Jay, Crow. Ferns: Christmas and Wood Fern. Edible Plants: Partridge Berry. Trees: White Pine, Scotch Pine, Eastern Hemlock, Norway Spruce, Blue Spruce, Larch (Tamarack), Gray Birch, Yellow Birch, Quaking (Trembling) Aspen, American Hornbeam (Musclewood), Sugar Maple, White Ash, Basswood, Red Oak Witch Hazel.

Oct. 21, 06 - Croaking raven flies over house followed by 15 crows. 

 Oct. 21, 12 - At 5 p.m. we hear a Raven croaking sky overhead. For the next five minutes, it soars and swoops overhead, putting on a beautiful aerial show. A pair of female Purple Finches at the feeder.

Oct. 21, 13 - Walked at Chenango Valley State Park. Flushed several pairs of wood ducks from Lily Lake. American Beech trees are coppery gorgeous and plentiful at this place.

Oct. 21, 15 - Pileated Woodpecker flying 100 feet above the road, heading down that road at 30-40 mph, calling loudly.

Oct. 21, 17 - Walked the Towpath Trail at Chenango Valley State Park. Trees identified: Gray Birch, White Pine, Sycamore, Basswood, Sugar Maple, Shadbush (Juneberry), Black Cherry, Shagbark Hickory, Red Oak, Arborvitae (Cedar). Birds observed: Pileated Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Bluebirds (5), Blue Jay, White-breasted Nuthatch, Great Blue Heron, Bald Eagle (juvenile), Common Merganser, Canada Goose.

Oct. 21, 18 - A flock of at least 50 Dark-eyed Juncos spent the day feeding on seeds in the yard. They must have blown in overnight on cold NW wind. The juvenile Red-tailed Hawk we have seen frequently in our back woods made two appearances. Once it appeared the bird dropped to ground in search of prey. We certainly have enough squirrels and chipmunks to offer food possibilities.

 Oct. 22, 12 - Floated the Chenango River. Temperature above 60 degrees. Highpoint was floating underneath an adult Bald Eagle, which was perched in a tall riverbank Silver Maple. We did this twice, thanks to the bird flying downriver and letting us approach it a second time. Here at home, the newly opened bird feeding station is being mobbed. All the regulars, plus Red-bellied Woodpecker and Red-brested Nuthatch.

Oct. 22, 13 - Male pileated Woodpecker landed upright on stones surrounding our small garden pond this morning. Poked about for several seconds and flew off. Cold front came through in the night. Golden-crowned Kinglets in big Norway spruce in back yard.

Oct. 22, 14 - Still no hard frost, so a number of leaves are hanging on. A small flock of 6 or so juncos were in the yard today, foraging around the feeder. No doubt they were migrants.

Oct. 22, 17 - Another in an endless string of lovely warm days. Very dry. The bird bath and small pond are getting a lot of action from robins, blue jays and mourning doves.

Oct. 22, 18 - Five Purple Finches (3 female; two male) at the feeder this morning. Two more females seen at Upper Lisle this afternoon. Brown Creeper working white pine trunk here at home. On Whitney Point Lake, a lone female Bufflehead in river channel. Below Whitney Point on the river, 6 female Common Mergansers.

 Oct. 23, 08 – Many robins and waxwings in yard. Feeding on berries of red osier dogwood.

 Oct. 23, 09 – Pileated woodpecker flew to within 15 feet as I stood under big oak in lower woods. Then another flew to the same tree – both males. A flock of about 50 brant flew over the house in late morning. Their call sounded softer than Canadas, their bodies were darker and their wingbeats faster. They flew fairly low in a wavering wedge, headed south.

 Oct. 23, 10 - Buck has made a scrape under dogwood shrub in front yard. Grass under the shrub has been heavily pawed.

 Oct. 23, 11 - Montezuma Nat. Wildlife Refuge. Peregrine Falcon diving on several yellowlegs that were feeding in shallow flats. No success, but great to see the graceful diving moves of the falcon. 500 or so wigeon, more than 100 gadwall in one side channel, a few gw teal, ring-necks and shovelers. One ruddy duck.

Oct. 23, 14 - Gray day with showers in the afternoon. High of 45. Nor'easter pounding the coast. Northerly winds brought a bunch more juncos to the yard - more than a dozen, foraging for seeds on our "country lawn" out back. Buck has rubbed antlers on 4-inch kousa dogwood trunk in lower yard.

Oct. 23, 15 - Montezuma NWR. 1,000+ Ring-necked Ducks and the same number of Pintails. Several Harriers hunting the marsh, plus numerous Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Gadwall and Shoveler. Of course, thousands of Canada Geese.

Oct. 23, 17 - We heard a Pileated Woodpecker calling on the other side if the road; then watched it fly to our side and land on a dead aspen in the woods 40 yards from us. 

Oct. 24, 10 - Heard a pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers in woods by house. First time I have confirmed two of them here.

Oct. 24, 11 - First fisher sighting ever. Animal loped through the back yard and into the woods close to sunset.

Oct. 24, 14 - Migrating phoebe appeared in the yard. It flitted from perch to perch, flicking its tail. Had it not been late October, I would have thought it was looking for a nest site. Observed a Red-tailed Hawk moving south overhead, swirling in circles, each circling taking it 100 yards farther south.

Oct. 24, 15 - Thousands of geese over Montezuma NWR. As of Late September, there were very few, so these all are migrants, stopping here to rest and refuel. A big date at Franklin Mountain outside Oneonta, NY. Eighteen migrating Golden Eagles flew by this well-known raptor-watching outpost.

Oct. 24, 16 - Glanced up to see a Red-tailed Hawk soaring over the yard just above treetop level, heading south. A low-flying migrant? Can't be sure, but the wind was right: strong from the northwest.

 Oct. 25 – 06 Flaming Japanese maples around town. “Cherry red” Jan calls them. Brighter than previous years.

 Oct. 25, 10 - Floated the river on a 73-degree day. Immature bald eagle sighted. Spikehorn buck swam across the river in front of us. Didn't notice us until it had climbed up on the bank and shook itself off.

 Oct. 25, 11 - Fisher we saw last evening is still in the woods - same spot. Numerous white-throated sparrows, kinglets and juncos migrating through.

 Oct. 25, 12 - On the Chenango River... Observed a mature Bald Eagle flying across valley farm field. Flock of 14 Mallards; flock of 6-8 Wood Ducks.

Oct. 25, 14 - Robins and 4-5 Cedar Waxwings in yard, feeding on last dark blue berries of Nannyberry viburnum (see Oct. 26, 09). Phoebe from yesterday was still in the yard this morning.

Oct. 25, 15 - Oaks and Aspens are showing their colors. The oaks, especially, seem as pretty as ever, with gold, burgundy and subtle shades in between.

Oct. 25, 16 - Still seeing Robins along the roadsides. They have been migrating through for what seems like most of October. 

 Oct. 26, 02. Two Carolina wrens around the house in morning and early afternoon. Calling, hopping around on the logs, foraging in raised beds. GC Kinglets also calling.

 Oct. 26, 06 - Upper Lisle. Migrating woodcock still present. Five-note yellowlegs call from wetland. Many sparrows in grasslands. Flock of 12 waxwings wing by. At Brier Hill, more than a dozen migrating juncos feeding on front lawn in morning.

 Oct. 26, 09 – Flock of robins in yard, as well as cedar waxwings. Both feeding on red osier dogwood berries.

 Oct. 26, 10 - Beautiful 8-point buck in woods just behind house at 8 a.m. Sniffing the ground. Very calm. 10 juncos at cracked corn feeder.

 Oct. 26, 12 - Flock of 30-40 Cedar Waxwings at north end of Whitney Point Lake.

Oct. 26, 13 - Just checked my river diary. So far this year, I've been out in the kayak 26 times.

Oct. 26, 14 - Received a photo from a reader, showing a Snowy Owl he photographed Oct. 25 in the Catskill Mountains. My son in CT reports that yesterday, a dozen juncos and a dozen White-throated Sparrows arrived in his yard. They will stay the winter.

Oct. 26, 15 - Small flock of robins erupts from a clump of Autumn Olive along the road. Feeding on berries, no doubt. Junco observed eating seeds from Black-eyed Susans.

 Oct. 27, 08 – At Chris’s – a pair of ravens tumbling overhead – six inches apart, upright and upside down. Sitting on his deck, I am joined by a red-breasted nuthatch, which lands on chair back four feet from my chair.

 Oct. 27, 10 - Heard a raven croaking, looked up and saw it passing overhead at treetop level. Several times while I watched, the bird swiveled its body 90 degrees, so that one wing-tip was aiming toward the ground and the other was pointed skyward. This maneuver lasted about one second before the bird returned to a normal flying position. Each time it occurred, the bird lost a foot or two of altitude.

 Oct. 27, 12 - At least five Purple Finches at feeder, most of them males.

Oct. 27, 14 - Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge in Seneca Falls, NY... Southwest wind, 5-10 mph; 60 degrees. Thousands of ducks on the Main Pool, all the way around the wildlife drive. Highest in number were Wigeon, Scaup, Green-winged Teal and Pintail. Also in very good numbers: Shoveler, Gadwall, Mallard, Ring-neched Duck. A number of Coot and Pied-billed Grebes also present. One juvenile Bald Eagles circles over the visitor center. One juvenile Harrier hunted cattails beyond visitor center pool. One Yellowlegs and 12 Dunlin feeding in shallows in at bend in wildlife drive drive. A mucklands off Rte. 89... Thousands of Canada Geese and 100 Snow Geese, plus three Sandhill Cranes. Very few birds in flight throughout the refuge. All seemed to be resting and feeding.

Oct. 27, 15 - As we pulled into the driveway, an adult Red-tailed hawk left its perch in tree just down the road from the driveway, and flew low across the road into spruces. We got a great look at its deep rusty-colored tail. Also, a Red-throated Loon, 2 Long-tailed Ducks and a Ruddy Duck on Whitney Point Lake. Dunlins at Greenwood park.

Oct. 28, 09 – Robins and cedar waxwings in the yard, both feeding on red osier dogwood berries.

Oct. 28, 11 - Red-bellied Woodpecker scolding in yard. Haven't heard or seen on in six months. Discovered buck scrape beneath Douglas fir in back yard. At Upper Lisle: Flock of 15 Common Mergansers. Flock of 8-10 hooded mergansers.

Oct. 28, 12 - Male Red-bellied Woodpecker has been regular visitor to the sunflower feeder for several days.

Oct. 28, 13 - Montauk Daisies still thriving in front yard. We have yet to experience a hard frost this fall.

Oct. 28, 14 - Floated the river on a 65-degree day. Paddled right beneath an adult Bald Eagle that was perched 30 feet up in a riverside tree. The bird finally flew 100 yards downriver and let us approach closely again. Flushed a dozen Wood Ducks from a back channel and saw several Common Mergansers on the river. 

Oct. 28, 15 - Day of study rain. Encountered a dozen Wild Turkeys on the driveway. Soaked they looked half their normal size.

Oct. 28, 18 - Just before dark, a six-point buck crossed the side yard and headed into the back woods.

Oct. 29, 13 - Observed what seemed like dozens of robins while walking Pennsylvania Gameland plot near Hancock. There were plenty of hawthorne berries and some from ornamentals available. Also heard faint whisper from some White-throated Sparrows, but their migration through here has barely begun. Heard a raven calling. Driving on dirt road near the gamelands, I watched a nice 6-point buck run across the road right in front of me. There were two very large scrapes on the gameland plot where we walked. 

Oct. 29, 14 - Seven Wild Turkeys walked through the back woods at 8 a.m. At the same time, a white-tailed deer buck with spike antlers crossed in the opposite direction. Observed two migrating Monarch Butterflies during the day. Just before dusk, a number of robins appeared. Also, we saw a Bald Eagle circling very high in the sky and a Red-tailed Hawk soaring past.

Oct. 29, 15 - Buck scrape on trail by Red Pine stand. Turkey Vultures still here. Several circling above the woods.

Oct. 29, 18 - Five or six does in the back woods eating acorns in early morning, but no bucks. Our resident juvenile Red-tailed Hawk swooped in and out, once again without anything in its talons.

Oct. 30, 10 – Montezuma. Chilly and partly cloudy with 10-15 mph south wind. Flock of at least 50 dunlins feeding in flat near visitor center and scrape at curve in auto route. Five black-bellied plovers seen in both places. One yellowlegs. Ten ruddy ducks in Shockey Pool. GW Teal, widgeon, blacks, gadwall, many ring-necks. Several harriers, plus two red-tails – one hovering over water at edge of Main Pool.

Oct. 30, 12 - Visited Whitney Point Lake in aftermath of Hurricane Sandy's arrival yesterday. Birds observed: Common Mergansers - 200; Black Scoters - 50; White-winged Scoters - 6; Ruddy Ducks - 25; Wigeon - 6; Bufflehead - 12; Brant - 200; Long-tailed Duck - 1; Bald Eagle - 1. The Long-tailed Duck was with the Buffleheads. The White-winged Scoters and Wigeon were together. Ruddy Ducks were actively diving. Black Scoters were sleeping in a tight raft.

Oct. 30, 13 - Observed flock of ten Wild Turkeys in lower woods. First turkey sighting here in several months. Blue Jays hopping about, eating acorns under back yard oaks.

Oct. 30, 15 - A pair of Ravens flying low over the intersection of Vestal and Penn avenues in Binghamton. A first!

Oct. 31, 10 – Red-bellied woodpecker in ash tree above feeder. Still haven’t seen it at feeder this fall.

Oct. 31, 14 - Walked at Upper Lisle. A small Ruby Meadowhawk dragonfly landed on my shirt - brilliant red. The last dragonfly usually to appear in fall.

Oct. 31, 17 - A Red-tailed  Hawk glided across the driveway from pup to lower woods - so low I looked down on its tail. Tail was brown, to red - a juvenile.
Observed large six-point buck feeding side of road a mile from the house. Brow tines were 6 inches tall

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