Rick Marsi Diary

Following are a collection of sightings and thoughts.

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September Sightings

Sept. 1, 1975 - Flocks of swallows over Greenwood Lake. Barn Swallows have already left the farm where we live.

Sept. 1, 14 - Ash leaves already starting to fall here. Goldenrod colors are peaking. Scarlet starting to show on sumac.

Sept. 1, 15 - At Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge... watched a female Merlin dipping down and then rising up, over a short grass meadow. Trying to scare up prey. Very dark brown on the back with a banded tail. Also observed Dowitchers, Yellowlegs, Pectoral, Stilt, Least and White-rumped Sandpiper. Saw 25 Great Egrets in one wetland pool. Ducks were Wood Ducks, Mallards and Green-winged Teal.

Sept. 1, 16 - It appears our local juncos have just fledged a second brood. The youngsters are chasing them around and feeding on the lawn. We think both broods have fledged from a nest in very bushy trumpet vine on front porch.
Flicker in the yard today.

Sept. 1, 17 - Hummingbirds still here. Two fawns in the yard in evening. One had almost no spots remaining.

Sept. 1, 18 - On a 90-minute drive through rural countryside, I observed 6-7 migrating Monarchs.

Sept. 1, 19 - Does, fawns and a buck feeding on acorns under big White Oak in back woods. Adult male hummingbird appears to have migrated south. Juveniles still here.

Sept. 1, 20 - Two juvenile hummingbirds are still here, but we have not seen a male or female in several days. A number of robins foraging in back woods. There were a number here late in the day a few days ago also.

Sept. 2, 14 - Observed a Giant Swallowtail butterfly on coneflowers and trumpet vine flowers this afternoon. It stayed just a moment or two after I saw it; then flew off.

Sept. 2, 15 - Wood Pewee perches in large maple at center of yard, hunting tan-colored moths about 3/4 inch across. Persists even when riding mower is nearby.

Sept. 2, 18 - Two juvenile Robins in the yard. Very dark spots on their breasts, indicating they may have recently fledged.

Sept. 2, 20 - Carolina Wren singing near yard. On neighborhood walk, photographed Black Gum leaves turning and blue fruits. Also Chinese Crabapple and Asiatic Bittersweet. Monarch feeding on butterfly bush. Fledgling Cardinal begging around the feeder, with a loud trilling call.

Sept. 3, 1975 - Arriving cold front has brought a warbler wave. Redstarts, Myrtles, Black-throated Greens observed at park. Also a Red-breasted Nuthatch. RE Vireo and Wood Pewee still heard. Swallows till hunting ver lake, as well as three Chimney Swifts. Many Amanita mushrooms up along the trail. Elderberries dead ripe.

Sept. 3, 14 - Drove down to the lower woods in hopes a Hen-of-the-Woods mushroom had started growing at base of a huge white oak, where it has appeared in past years. Nothing thus far. There still is time, however. This delicious mushroom can appear anytime this month. No hummingbirds at feeder the past several days. They may already have departed.

Sept. 3, 15 - At least one hummingbird is still here. Not a male. Feeding on Trumpet Vine nectar.

Sept. 3, 17 - We get .5 inches of rain. Hummingbirds still here.

Sept. 3, 18 - A pair of juvenile hummingbirds still visiting the feeder.

Sept. 3, 19 - Barred Owl hooting at 3:45 a.m. South of the house, which is new. Hooted maybe ten times, each hoot separated by 10 seconds or so. 
A pair of juvenile hummingbirds still visiting the feeder. (See Sept. 3, 18 above.) Two bucks with large antlers in yard in a.m. One has already shed its velvet.
Family of 5 robins at garden pond. Three are spotted juveniles.

Sept. 3, 20 - Great Horned Owl hooting in upper woods, every ten seconds for 20 minutes between 3:30 and 4 a.m. (See Barred Owl notation above for Sept. 3, 19) The same cadence every time: who who, who-who, whooo whoo. 
Pair of Carolina Wrens scuffling at entrance to garage. One bird enters and stays 15 minutes. Much singing through the day. Female Cardinal with no head feathers feeds two fledglings at feeder. Much fluttering of wings by the young ones. Also, a female Purple Finch at the feeder. Monarch sips grease(?) from the edge of the grill. Maybe fish oil remnants from salmon, the last meal cooked.

Sept. 4, 1975 - Warblers still here. Black-throated Green and Nashville sighted at park. Many Cedar Waxwings flying over the lake. Rescued a female belted Kingfisher that had lodged its head between the slates of a lifeguard chair. When released it flew weakly out to the middle of the lake and plopped in. Then it proceeded to hump itself all the way to the other side.

Sept. 4, 14 - Large buck in velvet, bedded down in woods above driveway early this morning.

Sept. 4, 17 - Carolina Wren singing loudly just below the house in morning. Crow chasing two Ravens low over the house. Crow making its castanet sound while the ravens croak loudly.

Sept. 4, 20 - Two Ravens circling and calling over house. 12-15 Robins in the yard, most of them juveniles with spotted breasts still evident. As may as 7 around the garden pond, drinking and bathing. Brief pond appearance by juvenile or female Scarlet Tanager.

Sept. 5, 14 - Pileated Woodpecker calling loudly in woods just behind the house.

Sept. 5, 15 - Our resident hummingbirds are gone. Full feeders, lots of Trumpet Vine flowers, but no hummers.

Sept. 5, 17 - Spotted three Monarch Butterflies in flight today. Also observed a hummingbird sipping nectar from a lavender blossom.

Sept. 5, 18 - Two adult juncos with two juveniles in the yard. Adults staying close. Looks like we had a second brood of youngsters.

Sept. 5, 19 - Two large bucks in back woods - larger chasing. These two seem to be hanging together. Two Pileated Woodpeckers in back yard in p.m. One chases the other. Carolina Wren explores brush pile in back woods.

Sept. 5, 20 - At Montezuma Wildlife Refuge, Seneca Falls, NY...Hundreds of Tree Swallows hunting over the mail pool. 50 or so Blue-winged Teal feeding there. A few Gallinules and Pied-billed Grebes. Yellowlegs and Solitary Sandpiper in forst pool on right on wildlife drive. Most shorebird mudflat pools drained dry. Photographed Common Buttonbush, Perennial Sow Thistle and Swamp Rose Mallow along wildlife drive. Many Monarchs winging along the marsh edge.
 
Sept. 6, 15 - Large bird of prey sweeps across back yard. Bigger body and wider wings than Cooper's or Sharp-shinned. No doubt a Red-tailed Hawk.

Sept. 6, 16 - A Black-throated Green Warbler lands on the lawn where I have been watering. I'm sure it took a drink. Very dry conditions here.

Sept. 6, 17. At Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge... Several Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs were the only shorebirds present. Numerous juvenile Bald Eagles, but no adults. Sighted four or five migrating Monarchs on the trip. Hummingbirds still here at the house.

Sept. 6, 18 - Juvenile junco bathes in our bird bath. Family of four Robins in the yard.

Sept. 6, 19 - Photograph Short-horned Grasshopper on hydrangea. Juvenile hummingbirds still here. We watch them sipping nectar from Trumpet Vine and Lobelia flowers.

Sept. 6, 20 - Red-breasted Nuthatch calling 4-5 times in woods during the day. Pileated Woodpecker has been calling every day for at least two weeks. Photographed Thorn Apple fruits. They are abundant this year.

Sept. 7, 17 -Female or juvenile Redstart flies from honeysuckle shrubs and almost enters garage. Swerves away at last moment. Carolina Wrens on the front porch. Male singing most of the day.

Sept. 7, 15 - Faint screeching call overhead draws my attention to three Red-tailed Hawks soaring overhead. Two 20-30 yards apart, with the third not far away. 

Sept. 7, 16 - Very dry conditions continue. A gray squirrel comes to the garden pond for a long drink. Hummingbird is attracted to spray from garden hose. I hear the call of a Scarlet Tanager. 

Sept. 7, 18 - At local wetland... Juvenile Bald Eagle soars low overhead. Two groups of Mallards (total 9). At least 10 Wood Ducks flush from emergent vegetation. Half a dozen Ring-billed Gulls in attendance. One Cormorant. Eastern Ambrewing dragonflies mating in mid-air and depositing eggs on water.

Sept. 7, 19 - At least two juvenile Scarlet Tanagers bathing in garden pond, along with Chipping Sparrow and a whole family of juvenile Robins.

Sept. 7, 20 - Carolina Wren calling below house. Juvenile hummingbirds still here. Observed one sipping from tiny yellow flowers on tomato plant. Still coming to Cardinal Flower, Trumpet Vine and Hibiscus. Six-point buck in woods at yard's edge in back. Antlers rubbed clean and still showing reddish color.

Sept. 8, 15 - Visit to Brick Pond wetland preserve in Owego, 20 miles west of Binghamton, NY. Three or four Green Herons, plus a dozen or so migrating Tree Swallows feeding over the water. Several Cedar Waxwings and Wood Ducks also present. Canada Darner, 12-spotted Skimmer and Meadowhawk dragonflies present. Water Lily and Sneezeweed. One Monarch butterfly sighted, flapping along shoreline.

Sept. 8, 16 - Barred Owl calls from woods at 3 a.m. Turkeys cluck loudly from back woods at 7 a.m.

Sept. 8, 17 - First buck of the summer/fall appears in lower yard - a fork-horn in velvet.

Sept. 8, 18 - Put up hanging sunflower feeder for the first time in weeks. Chickadee watched me do it and came immediately. Three Goldfinches also have been enjoying. One male is still in bright yellow plumage. Pileated and red-bellied Woodpeckers calling around house.

Sept. 8, 19 - Family of juvenile Robins feeding on berries of Autumn Olive. Family of five Tufted Titmice noisily chasing each other through the woods. Migrating Monarch flutters southward.

Sept. 9, 1975 - Cold front passing through. Flock of Cedar Waxwings overhead. Flock of Pine Warblers in trees near forestry display. 

Sept. 9, 15 - A local birder e-mailed me to identify a woodpecker she saw but didn't know. It turned out to be a juvenile Red-headed Woodpecker, very uncommon here. On the home front... family of 5-6 juncos actively feeding on seeds of crab grasses at the lawn's edge.

Sept. 9, 16 - Paddling the lake edge, I encountered two Yellowthroats. One was beginning to develop the diagnostic black mask of a male. Also watched two Yellow-rumped Warblers foraging. 

Sept. 9, 17 - At the water tank on our road... A lone hen turkey with 8 youngsters, all the same size and about half her size. Hummingbird still coming to our feeders.

Sept. 9, 18 - Photographed juvenile hummingbird perched on our trumpet vine. They should be gone in a week or less.

Sept. 9, 20 - Great-horned Owl hooting in upper woods at 4:30 a.m. Slightly north of where I heard it a few nights ago. Goldfinch feeding on seed heads of coneflower.

Sept. 10, 1975 - Took Harpur College (now Binghamton University) students on walk above college Bunn Hill entrance. Observed hygrophorous, Amanita muscaria and rubescens, Doll's Eyes, Sassafras trees. 
Many birds in Greenwood Park picnic area. 2 immature sapsuckers on apple trees; many juncos; Grasshopper Sparrows on service road; quite a few Myrtle Warblers.
Sasparillas now turning yellow. Picked two Agaricus campestris on lawn.

Sept. 10, 15 - Flock of 50-75 Grackles observed feeding on lawns in city neighborhood. The blackbird migration has begun. Hummingbird feeding actively at feeder in afternoon. Light-breasted juvenile.

Sept. 10, 16 - Lovely Empidonax flycatcher catching insects in the yard. Four Mourning Doves eating seeds on the lawn. Two hummingbirds chasing about.

Sept. 10, 17 - Carolina Wren singing in and around the yard. Four Blue Jays noisily chasing each other. Pileated calling in the back woods. Hummingbird at the feeder. One migrating Monarch observed.

Sept. 10, 18 - At north end of Whitney Point Lake. Mosaic Darner dragonfly resting in overgrown field. White Admiral butterfly seen at water's edge. Osprey hunting over the river. Brown Thrasher flies across road, showing long rusty brown tail. Male Kestrel on wire along nearby road. Blue wings clearly visible.

Sept. 10, 19 - Herd of 6 deer in the yard, mostly under the large white oak in back. Two does, three fawns and a spike-horn buck. Photographed small Katydid on plant in raised bed.

Sept. 10, 20 - At 5 p.m. a Broad-winged Hawk sails low through the woods and lands on partially fallen tree just above road - below sitting area under red maple. Bands on tail clearly visible. Stayed a minute and then flew across the road. First sighting here of a Broad-wing in several years.

Sept. 11, 1975 - Day begins sunny but clouds and rain move in. Monarchs everywhere. Black-throated Green and Magnolia Warblers at the park. Killdeer are still here. Closed Gentian flowering along Evergreen Trail.
Banded 5 catbirds, 1 blue jay, 1 red-eyed vireo at Harriet's Brier Hill.

Sept. 11, 15 - At Lily Lake, Chenango Valley State Park... Photographed Canada Darner and Meadowhawk dragonflies. Meadowhawks resting and flying in tandem. Darner had a prey item in its mouth while perching. Could not identify. 6-12 Wood Ducks on the lake.

Sept. 11, 17 - Paddled the wetland. Observed a Marsh Wren, that came to my alarm call. Then flushed an adult Sora from a wet patch 10 feet away. It flew weakly around 10 years and disappeared in more wetland vegetation. Bright orange legs were clearly visible. Photographed sneezeweed at water's edge.

Sept. 11, 18 - Hummingbirds (2) still here. Watched one try for nectar from spent coneflower. Goldfinches actively plucking seeds from coneflowers in gardens. Observed Magnolia Warbler flitting through thorn apple and Norway spruce in yard. Good field marks: yellow breast, with pale black stripes on the side. White wing bars and gray head with eye ring.

Sept. 11, 19 - In Madison, CT, at edge of wooded lawn, I observed a juvenile Broad-winged Hawk fly into a large aspen tree and perch without moving for 30 minutes. Dark brown streaks covered breast. Also observed Blue-gray Gnatcatcher flitting about high in a mature oak.

Sept. 11, 20 - One hummingbird seen today. Migrating soon. The end is in sight.

Sept. 12, 1975 - Very cold and windy, with periods of heavy rain. Skies cleared at 4:30. At my mother's... Banded 6 waxwings, 3 chickadees, 1 Magnolia Warbler, 1 Red-eyed Vireo, 2 catbirds, 1 Least Flycatcher.

Sept. 12, 14 - A weasel ran across the road in front of our car on the Cape.

Sept. 12, 15 - Two 8-point bucks feeding 10 yards apart at road's edge in SUNY Nature Preserve. Antlers already rubbed smooth and dark brown. Does observed along another roadside had taken on their dark brown winter coats. Hummingbird is still here, feeding actively on Trumpet Vine flowers.  A House Wren observed here, exploring crannies in back stone wall. Churring softly.

Sept. 12, 16 - Encountered four young Ruffed Grouse on forested dirt road. Body feathers and overall size filled in, but head feathers still a bit sparse. The birds did not fly, allowing several photos before disappearing down a steep hillside.

Sept. 12, 17 - At wetland... Got very good photos of Marsh Wren.

Sept. 12, 18 - At wetland... Photographed Belted Kingfisher, one of the most difficult birds to approach. Discovered dozens of large snails on thick beds of marsh vegetation. Two or three migrating Sharp-shinned Hawks flying low overhead. A Spotted Sandpiper in winter plumage feeding along rocky island shore in lake.

Sept. 13 , 1975 - At Brier Hill, we banded 1 Bay-breasted Warbler and 1 Philadelphia Vireo.

Sept. 13, 14 - Photographed Snowy Egret, Semi-palmated Sandpiper and Semi-palmated Plover at Wellfleet Bay Audubon Sanctuary.

Sept. 13, 17 - Birding in Wayne County, Pa....
At least 6 Kestrels in open hill country. Mostly in pairs. Also photographed Closed (Bottle) Gentian in poor soil at the edge of a lake (over which we watched an Osprey soaring). 

Sept. 14, 1975 - Observed a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk and Swainson's Thrush, Eye rings and buffy cheeks evident on the thrush.  

Sept. 14, 14 - At Cape Cod... Peregrine Falcon sweeps across the marsh at Sandwich. Carolina Wren singing at marsh edge.

Sept. 14, 15 - Photo trip to NE Pennsylvania. Saw two Kestrels perched on wires along country roads. Also a Turkey Vulture on the road, tending to a road-killed skunk. Both New England and New York asters are blooming profusely now. 

Sept. 14, 16 - At local wetland... two Bald Eagles (one adult) circling high overhead, being joined by a Cooper's Hawk. First Turtlehead blossoms of the season at water's edge.

Sept. 14, 17 - Paddled the little river. Encountered two Solitary Sandpipers and three Bald Eagles (one mature). Also a Great Egret. Observed 4-5 migrating Monarchs. Have seen this many daily for the past week.

Sept. 14, 18 - Pair of hummingbirds still buzzing about the yard.

Sept. 14, 19 - Sharp-shinned Hawk winging over Lake Montauk.

Sept. 14, 20 - No hummingbird sightings today or yesterday. Carolina Wren singing briefly. Juvenile Cardinals are regulars at feeder; Bluejays at bird bath for a drink.

Sept. 15, 1975 - Went to Brier Hill. Took around 35 pounds of dark honey from our one hive. Mother was very enthusastic. Jan banded birds all afternoon and ended up with around 15 new birds, including Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Magnolia Warbler, Brown Thrasher and Red-eyed Vireos.

Sept. 15, 14 - Broad-winged Hawk circles overhead three times at tree-level - inspecting a mowed field by the house we were staying in at Westport.

Sept. 15, 15 - Came across "our" family of Wild Turkeys at their usual crossing on the road below our house. Their numbers are growing. We counted 15 today.

Sept. 15, 16 - At local wetland... Watched 6 Monarch butterflies migrating south. Two Great Egrets on hand. Female Harrier hunting the grass at water's edge.

Sept. 15, 17 - An angle wing butterfly (either comma or question mark) observed fluttering around, and landing on, the log cabin. First of these here all year. Pileated calling in upper woods (a lot of that lately). 

Sept. 15, 18 - Hummingbirds appear to have departed as of today.

Sept. 15, 20 - Hummingbirds have been gone two days. (See above). Carolina Wren singing at 1:30 p.m. Blue Jays drinking actively from bird bath for 30 minutes around 10 a.m. Lush thorn apples on every tree. Hundreds of White Pine and Red Pine cones litter the ground in lower woods. Squirrels are cutting Red Oak branchlets to eat acorns on the ground. Driveway littered with husks eaten in tree above.

Sept. 16, 1975 - Banded Birds at brier Hill. A pair of chickadees, catbird, young robin, blue jay and wood thrush.

Sept. 16, 15 - A Brown Thrasher flew in front of me on a dirt road in PA. Gorgeous look in full sun. Phoebe flying around the front lawn here, wagging its tail. Finally got a Monarch Butterfly photo at local wetland. Saw 6-7 on this day. The one I photographed was nectaring on Daisy Fleabane. 

Sept. 16, 16 - Paddling today, I watched an adult Bald Eagle approach over the water and then land 30 feet up in a tree at water's edge. Also saw a migrating Sharp-shinned Hawk winging south. Very small - bluejay sized.

Sept. 16, 17 - Discovered three Hen of the Woods mushroom clumps growing at the base of large White Oak in our woods. The biggest clump 8 inches across.

Sept. 16, 19 - One hummingbird sighting on Trumpet Vine. Could be the last of the season.

Sept. 16, 20 - In northeastern Pa, Wayne County... Spotted 8 Kestrels and 9 Red-tailed Hawks in four hours of driving country roads. Also a pair of Brown Thrashers, Catbird, 2 Kingfishers, a juvenile Bald Eagle and five Wild Turkeys. New England Aster, White Snakeroot and Canada Goldenrod in flower. Several Monarchs sighted.

Sept, 17, 1975 - At Taughannk Falls in Ithaca, watched a kingfisher flying back and forth above stream in gorge. Banded birds at home. Song Sparrow, 2 Catbirds, 2 Red-eyed Vireos, a Yellowthroat.
Sis Common Nighthawks flying over Rte. 17 between Vestal and Owego.

Sept. 17, 14 - On the river... Water temp at 56 degrees. Highlight was looking up to watch a juvenile Bald Eagle and a Broad-winged Hawk soaring skyward in circles, using the same thermal to do so. Also, we looked up to see two Monarch butterflies winging southward.

Sept. 17, 15 - Eight deer in the yard this morning. Does and fawns. The group included a deer we first saw last year with deformed ears. They look like little white cups - two inches high and two inches wide.

Sept. 17, 17 - After finding them in the upper woods yesterday, we located several clumps of Hen of the Woods mushrooms at the base of a Large White Oak in our lower woods today.
Bumper crop of thorn apples this year, plus I collected a number of Chestnut Oak acorns under a big tree this morning.
Carolina Wren singing "tea kettle" and "shreep!" early in the day.

Sept. 17, 18 - Counted six migrating monarchs on a 60-mile drive today.

Sept. 17, 20 - Flock of 100 Grackles on yards in neighborhood. Dry weather continues bringing jays to the bird bath for drinking.

Sept. 18, 14 - A doe bedded down 10 yards from the driveway, in tall grass. She watched as I drove into the driveway, parked in the garage and went in the house. She's still out there, calmly chewing and relaxing.

Sept. 18, 15 - Hummingbird at feeder. This bird has a very white throat, which makes it easy to identify. How much longer will it stay?

Sept. 18, 16 - House Wren appears several times around the house and garage.

Sept. 18, 17 - Watched a Blue Jay come for a drink at the bird bath next to dining room window. A spell of dry weather should increase attendance there.

Sept. 18, 18 - Carolina Wren singing outside community center in Afton where I was giving a talk. At home, numerous acorns now falling from the big white oak out back. 

Sept. 18, 19 - At midnight, two Barred Owls hooting loudly just across road. Birds close together, giving variations of the "who cooks for you all" call.

Sept. 19, 13- Hummingbird buzzes the feeder.

Sept. 19, 15 - Drove 150 miles through rural upstate New York today and saw only one migrating Monarch butterfly. Did see a swirl of 12+ Turkey Vultures. Not the biggest congregation I've seen this year, however. At least 20 were circling over a suburban housing development a week ago. All were within 30 yards of each other.

Sept. 19, 16 - Osprey circling over Tioughnioga River. Ruby Pond Hawk dragonflies mating at local wetland. Hummingbirds gone.

Sept. 19, 18 - At Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. A few migratory ducks on hand (wigeon, gadwall, ring-neck) but the main pool is essentially empty. Dotting its surface: quite a few Moorhens and Pied-billed Grebes, produced at the refuge this summer. Highlights: A Sandhill Crane at the edge of Benning Pool. Also there, lurking just inside a line of cattails: American Bittern. In shallow pool just down the wildlife drive: Stilt Sandpipers jabbing the shallows, while White-rumped and Semi-palmated Sandpipers probe muddy water at edge of a grassy island. Approximately 6 birds of each species.

Sept. 19, 19 - Carolina Wen singing below house.

Sept. 19, 20 - Exceptionally dry weather continues to drive songbirds to the bird bath and garden pond. Photographed female/juvenile Scarlet Tanager there.

Sept. 20, 08 - Staghorn sumac turning crimson. Dry weather of past weeks may hasten leaves and color this fall.

 Sept. 20, 09 - Put the bird feeder back up after a summer without feeding. It took five minutes for the first customer - a chickadee - to discover it.

 Sept. 20, 10 - Pair of ravens croaking overhead. Pile of Mourning Dove feathers under the feeder indicate a visit by Cooper's or Sharp-shinned Hawk. 

Sept. 20, 11 - Harvested hen-of-the-woods mushroom from base of white oak in back woods. Two are growing on the tree this year. The biggest is about 12 inches in diameter.

Sept. 20, 12 - Visited wetland north of Whitney Point. Highlight was hearing a loud screeching sound over the water, looking in its direction, and seeing a Peregrine Falcon grappling with a Wood Duck it held in its talons. As I watched, the Wood Duck somehow escaped or was released and plunged to the water. The falcon did not pursue, choosing instead to wheel around and fly by me at 40 yards, with the setting sun highlighting its gun-metal gray plumage. Another highlight was watching an osprey fly by and suddenly seeing a flock of 10 blue-winged teal appear in the same binocular field of view. The teal flew past, quickly set their wings and disappeared into a thick bed of pickerel weed at the edge of the wetland.

Sept. 20, 18 - Eastern Phoebe appears in back yard, hunting insects from a perch in Douglas Fir. Many acorns now on the ground. Saw a chipmunk with an entire acorn in its mouth. 

Sept. 20, 20 - Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk swooped low over the backyard feeder, scattering Blue Jays and squirrels.

Sept. 21, 08 - Squirrels beginning to clip outer branchlets of red oaks. After doing so they go to the ground and get the attached acorns. 

Sept. 21, 09 - White oak acorns continue to fall, and the deer continue coming to eat them. Red osier dogwood berries are turning a deep blue.

 Sept. 21, 10 - At CV State Park... Photographed Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly at Lily Lake. One of the last dragonflies of summer. Many were there. A few painted turtles still sunning on logs. Also photographed Elm-leaved Goldenrod and bright red berries of Jack-in-the-Pulpit.

Sept. 21, 11On the river... Encountered 9 lesser yellowlegs and one greater yellowlegs picking through flotsam. Also saw two ospreys, one of which caught a fish while we watched. Two juvenile and one adult bald eagle. Several green herons. Juvenile Cooper's hawk chased after one osprey, along with several crows. One green-winged teal was with the yellowlegs. 

Sept. 21, 12- Red-bellied woodpecker calling constantly in back woods for 30 minutes in late morning. Also, a drab fall warbler flitted through the yard. Yellow belly and breast, plus olive back and cream-colored wingbars suggested juvenile Prairie Warbler.

Sept. 21, 14 - Heard the Red-bellied woodpecker calling. We were afraid it would abandon us after we took down our feeders due to a bear in the vicinity.

Sept. 21, 15 - Red-bellied Woodpecker giving loud "chiff, chiff" call in the woods. See 2014 note above.

Sept. 21, 16 - At Montezuma National Wildlife Refige... Hundreds of Common Gallinules, several dozen Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, two Harriers, a Black-bellied Plover and 50+ Green-winged Teal. On the highway, we encountered several - just several - migrating Monarch Butterflies.

Sept. 21, 18 - A flock of 8-10 migrating Robins in the yard. Attracted to them, I also observed a pair of female Purple Finches and a Blue-headed Vireo. In the early afternoon, a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk swept low across the back yard and into the woods. At 6 p.m., six white-tails coverage under big white oak and eat acorns on the ground.

Sept. 21, 20 - In the Catskill Mountains... Migrating Robins converging on lawns - a dozen or more. Adult Bald Eagle flies low over stream, lands, then takes off and continues downstream. Yellow-rumped Warbler foraging on lawn. Several Chipping Sparrows and Phoebes. Pair of Red-tailed Hawks circling overhead.

Sept. 22, 09 - At local wetland.. Juvenile bald eagle perched in dead tree. Two white streaks on face make it unique. Typically splotchy brown and white undersides. Five or six wood ducks sighted. Great egret still in attendance, hunting at lake's edge. Virginia creeper wine red. Heard coyotes howling and yapping in back woods at 8 p.m. Their noises lasted two or three minutes. 

Sept. 22, 10 - Surprised a flicker on lawn. First sighting here in some time. 

Sept. 22, 11 - On the river... Photographed solitary sandpiper, picking its way along the shore. Juvenile bald eagle sighted. At least 6 killdeer on gravel bar, along with a small sandpiper - probably least. Wood ducks, hooded mergansers and common mergansers sighted.

Sept. 22, 13 - Cold front came through last night. NW winds today. Looked up and saw migrating Sharp-shinned hawk. Circled a few times over the house and then continued south. An hour later, two bald eagles soared over.

Sept. 22, 14 - Twin fawns observed feeding on berries under red-osier dogwood. They have lost all their spots but have not yet turned as dark gray as their mother.

Sept. 22, 16 - Surprised a Flicker on the lawn. See this date in 2010. At wetland, observed 40+ Wood Ducks in emergent vegetation. At 5 p.m. in back woods, a Cooper's Hawk swept low over the ground, right in front of us, and then landed 10 feet high in a tree.

Sept. 22, 19 - Thirty minutes before sundown, a flock of 10 Robins descended on the upper woods. Migrants, no doubt.

Sept. 23, 10 - Goldfinches feeding on seed heads of Black-eyed Susans. Also drinking from bird bath. 

Sept. 23, 11- Monarch butterflies migrating through, as they have been this past week.

Sept. 23, 14 - Numerous robins spotted on grassy areas along road. Our nesting robins have been gone for weeks. Gray fox killed on road near Binghamton University campus.

Sept. 23, 15 - Adult Red-tailed Hawk swept through the back yard at 3:30 p.m. Only 4 feet off the ground, with talons extended. It may have held something small like a chipmunk, but I couldn't tell. Great look at the red tail, however.

Sept. 23, 16 - Paddling today at the lake... Had two Juvenile Bald eagles circle overhead. Different marking on each. One Great Egret flying around. A flock of 12 Blue jays flew by, 30 yards high, in a line about 30 yards long - flying due south. Heard a Warbling Vireo singing - 8 or 10 times in a row - from a tall tree at water's edge. Also heard Song Sparrow and Chickadee songs.

Sept. 23, 19 - Barred Owl calling at 8:30 p.m., quite far up the road in an area where I have not heard one before.

Sept. 23, 20 - At local wetland and lake... Flushed 30 Wood Ducks as I paddled the edge of thick mats of pickerel weed, Arrowhead and Yellow Pond Lily. Female Harrier coursed low over the same vegetation. Along lake edge, I spotted several migrating Yellowthroats and Yellow-rumped Warblers, plus a tail-wagging Palm Warbler. Highbush Blueberry and Swamp Holly leaves and fruits were colorful.

Sept. 24, 08 - Chenango Lake at Chenango Valley State Park. Ten-inch map turtle basking on tree leaning into the water. I got close in kayak to observe yellowing streaking on throat and legs. Autumn Meadowhawk dragonfly landed on kayak. Inch-long abdomen bright red. One of the season's late dragonflies. Three pileated woodpeckers along shoreline. One called from from far side of lake, and a woodpecker on near side immediately crossed the lake to it. Observed two of the three birds feeding together, ten feet apart - both males, but one looked mature and the other's plumage wasn't as striking. Observed sunfish, small- and large-mouthed bass and perch in very clear water. Pair of phoebes, one singing, plus the call of a red-bellied woodpecker. One hooded merganser flew over.

Sept. 24, 14 - A spike-horn whitetail buck in the yard this morning - with one-inch spike antlers. First sighting all season.

Sept. 24, 15 - Encountered a flock of 400-500 starlings along the road. They were working a very dry lawn.

Sept. 24, 16 - Eight turkeys in the road below the house - all looking full-grown.

Sept. 24, 18 - At local wetland. Strong wind kept things quiet. I did flush a total of 10 Wood Ducks from aquatic vegetation at far end of the cove.

Sept. 24, 19 - Small flock of migrating songbirds passes through the yard. I saw a Blue-headed and Red-eyed Vireo, plus a warbler I couldn't see well enough to ID. Two Pileated Woodpeckers calling in response to one another in back woods. 

Sept 24, 20 - Black Bear came in the night. Dragged tightly closed galvanized can off the deck and down on the patio, where the lid opened. Not all the seeds eaten. Fork-horn buck in the yard with reddish brown antlers rubbed smooth of velvet. 

Sept. 25, 08 - Raven heard calling from a bit up the road.

Sept. 25, 10 -  Pair of red-breasted nuthatches at sunflower feeder - male and female.

Sept. 25, 11 - On the river... Hen mallard, 6 common mergansers, a double-crested cormorant and numerous herons sighted. Monarchs still migrating through. 

Sept. 25, 13 - Hearing the Red-bellied Woodpecker scold in woods.

Sept. 25, 14 - Goldfinches sitting atop goldenrod, eating ripened seeds.

Sept. 25, 15 - Heard Red-breasted Nuthatch, the first time here in months.

Sept. 25, 16 - Ravens croaking to the south of us. They have been regulars within hearing distance all year. Male Red-breasted Nuthatch at feeder around 5 p.m. First sightings in months. See 2010 sighting on this date.

Sept. 25, 18 - As they usually do, leaves from thorn apples have dropped early, leaving the trees bare and revealing a bumper crop of red berries. Autumn olives also are drooping under the weight of all their berries.

Sept. 25, 20 - A large hawk soared low through the back yard and landed 30 feet high in a tree ten yards into the woods. I stepped out, and it swooped low down toward the road and gone. Probably a Cooper's Hawk.

Sept. 26, 08 - Flock of 12-15 cedar waxwings flying about near sunset.

Sept. 26, 09 - Had a good look at Yellow-shafted Flicker. It was on the ground, seeking ants. No black mustache, so the bird was a female.

Sept. 26, 10 - Brown Creeper appeared on ash tree at edge of driveway. Six cedar waxwings stopped in toward the end of the day.

Sept. 26, 11 - Walked at Lily Lake. Photographed swamp holy berries and yellow sassafras leaves. Fly amanita mushrooms along trail. Wood ducks on the lake.

Sept. 26, 13 - Two bald eagle adults perched in tall tree we float under on Chenango. Several Yellow-rumped Warblers. No Spotted Sandpipers. Five Blue-winged Teal.

Sept. 26, 14 - On the reservoir... Local rivers too low to float. Highlight was watching an adult Cooper's Hawk circle above us, just 100 feet high. Bright sun allowed great look at banded, rounded tail. The bird was doing its tell-tale flap-flap-glide method of circling.

Sept. 26, 15 - Discovered a large Sphinx Moth on the driveway. Its incredible camouflage - which would make it disappear against tree bark - didn't work on blacktop, allowing me to see it. This moth's underwings feature large bright orange patches, which it flashes to distract predators. Also today, we uncovered a 6-inch-long Ring-necked Snake. It had tucked itself among a small stack of bricks.

Sept. 26, 16 - Flock of at least a dozen Robins in the woods today. See Sept. 27, 08 notation below.

Sept. 27, 08 - Robins clucking late in the day. Haven't heard or seen a robin here for many days. Could these be migrants, settling in for the night after flying south during the day? Visited beaver pond in local state forest. A lone mallard in attendance. 

Sept. 27, 09 - Observed three wood ducks feeding in wetland. Two were females with white teardrop. The other was a juvenile male, still working into adult male plumage. 

Sept. 27, 10 - At CV State Park. More than a dozen wood ducks, plus one blue-winged teal. Many red-spotted newt salamanders on trail, most of them adults, but a few in the red-eft stage. Photographed maple leaf viburnum. At home, a flock of 200 or so grackles appeared in the woods. Feeding on the ground. 

Sept. 27, 11On the river... Observed both adult and juvenile bald eagle.

Sept. 27, 12 – At Upper Lisle…. Flushed a Sora out of dense wet meadow. Five Greater Yellowlegs off mud flats on upper reservoir. Lesser Scaup on upper reservoir. Five Pied-billed Grebes also there.

Sept.  27, 14 - Photographed perfect orb spider web covered with dew this morning. We've had dense morning fog for a week.

Sept. 27, 15 - Around 30 Robins showed up in the woods surrounding our yard between 6 and 7 p.m. See entry for this date in 2008.

Sept. 27, 18 - At local wetland... 10 Cormorants loafing on log in middle of lake. Fewer Ring-billed Gulls... just three or four singles flying over. First Great Egret of the fall season hunting in emergent vegetation. Two wood ducks flushed from back channel. Bluet damselflies and Ruby Meadowhawk dragonflies flying and mating. Three Monarchs flying south. A muskrat swimming by water's edge. New England Asters as abundant as I can remember.

Sept. 27, 19 - River Otter sighting at CV State Park. Otter was hunting in small pool created by log jam in side channel of the river. Dry conditions had trapped any fish who were in there. We had a brief but excellent look at the otter staring directly at us. It then disappeared in brush by the side of the channel.

Sept. 28, 08 - Driveway littered with twigs from oak overhead. Gray squirrels cutting them down to get at their acorns.

Sept. 28, 09- A nice 8-point buck appeared under the white oak at edge of back yard this morning. Feeding on acorns. Antlers looked reddish-brown, a sign they had just been rubbed free of velvet. Strong winds later in the day promised there would be many more acorns on the ground.

Sept. 28, 10 - At CVSP, walked Chenango Lake Trail from Bog Trail intersection to swimming area. Then walked road past Pine Bluffs and Golf Course, past Tween Lakes, and back to car. Photographed wintergreen and two asters. Turtle head still blooming at lake edge. Osprey circling above swimming area. Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets in cedars near beach area. Blue-headed vireo in deciduous trees near nature center. Brown Creeper and Pine Warbler in pines on road below Pine Bluff Campground. Very nice look at the warbler, which featured a bright yellow throat and distinct streaking on sides of breast. On second walk, near home, photographed monarch butterfly, plus fruits of gray dogwood and nannyberry shrubs. Observed a pair of towhees in thick cover.

Sept. 28, 14 - Loud "chuck, chuck, chucking" in the woods tells me gray squirrels are establishing their winter feeding territories. Also heard both pileated and red-bellied woodpeckers calling. 

Sept. 28, 15 - Here... At least 20 Turkey Vultures circling together near BU Nature Preserve. At Whitney Point Lake... Juvenile Bald Eagle circling just a couple hundred feet over the bridge in town. A flock of 100+ Ring-billed Gulls on the Tioughnioga River. At upper end of the lake, another juvenile eagle perched on dead tree branches stuck in river channel. Five Mallards feeding in dense emergent vegetation in adjoining wetland. Catbird calling. Juvenile Harrier swooping over fields and river channel. Orange breast and white at base of tail.

Sept. 28, 16 - At local wetland, I watched a Harrier hunting the marsh edges. Fifteen Wood Ducks and 6 Mallards in emergent vegetation.

Sept. 28, 17 - Heard a distant Raven croaking to the south of the house. They are regulars around here now. I hear them several times a week.

Sept. 28, 19 - At CV State Park... Excellent look at juvenile Bald Eagle perched and in flight. Also a Great Egret. 

 Sept. 29, 09 - Had to shoo a juvenile cardinal out of the garage. It was beating against a window. The black bill indicated a juvenile. Otherwise, it looked like a female. I finally got it pointed toward the garage door opening. When it saw the light, it flew quickly into the open.

Sept. 29, 10- Trip to Montezuma Nat. Wildlife Refuge. Highlights: 4-5 juvenile harriers hunting over the marsh; pectoral sandpiper, plus yellowlegs and dowitchers. Many green-winged teal. Little blue heron. Pair of white-throated sparrows in clump of gray dogwood. Numerous great blue herons and great egrets. Several adult bald eagles.

Sept. 29, 11- At CV State Park... A small flock of migrating songbirds, including several Swainson's thrushes, chestnut-sided warbler, red-eyed vireo and black-throated green warbler. Another flock in evening... Philadelphia vireo, bt green warbler, tanager, many robins.

Sept. 29, 13 - Fifteen vultures circling over Stair Tract.

Sept. 29, 14 - Lots of deep blue berries on our Red-osier Dogwood shrub, but I have yet to see birds feeding on them.

Sept. 29, 15 - Very dry weather continues. Robins and Gray Squirrels drinking from small garden pond. Heard two Red-bellied Woodpeckers making their "chuff, chuff" call at the same time. Nice to know there are at least two. Hoping I have a male and female.

Sept. 29, 17 - Watched a Pileated Woodpecker digging into a dead aspen tree in side woods. Big chucks falling to the ground. 

Sept. 29, 19 - Robins feasting on berries of Autumn Olive. Tattered Viceroy butterfly in the yard.

Sept. 30, 06- Harvested hen mushrooms at oak in backyard. Some of large ones already too far along, but still manage to collect a lot of good mushrooms.

Sept. 30, 14 - Heard a Pileated Woodpecker give its territorial drumming call. Setting up a winter feeding territory? 

Sept. 30, 15 - Huge flock of Grackles appeared in the back woods at the edge of the yard (some birds foraging in the yard.) They stay a few minutes before something sent the entire flock into flight down the hill.

Sept. 30, 17 - After a long spell of hot, dry weather, a cold front brought cool temps and rain overnight. This morning I saw several robins along the road - perhaps new arrivals riding a tail wind in migration.

Sept. 30, 17 - We continue to see 3-4 migrating Monarch Butterflies each day (for the past two weeks). It seems they have had a good season in these parts.

Sept. 30, 19 - Small flock of migrating warblers in trees by the river at CV State Park. Poor light made it impossible to get an ID.






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