On Sunday morning, Miyoko Chu and I visited the William and Marjory Thayer
Preserve and the Sweedler Preserve at Lick Brook, which are adjacent Finger
Lakes Land Trust properties near the Ithaca/Danby town line.  Here are some
bird highlights.



* An unseen mystery bird singing four or five very high, forced notes from
the treetops, near where the orange-blazed trail enters the Thayer Preserve
from Sandbank Road.  I heard the same song in this very spot on June 3.
That first time, I thought it was probably a Blackpoll Warbler that I
wasn’t hearing well, or maybe even a Cape May.  But now I feel that it’s
much more likely an aberrant local singer than a late passage migrant.  My
best guess is that it’s a BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER singing a partial song,
because it seems too loud and not sibilant enough for a Golden-crowned
Kinglet.  (If you confirm this bird’s identity, please let me know.)



* Another unlikely duo of neighboring bird species – a HERMIT THRUSH
singing continually in the hemlock woods and gorge, and BOBOLINKS singing
and chasing each other in the grassy field that extends to West King Road –
all witnessed from one spot on the orange-blazed trail in the Thayer
Preserve.



* Also from this same spot, RED-EYED VIREO, BLUE-HEADED VIREO, and probable
YELLOW-THROATED VIREO heard singing simultaneously, making quite a hash of
chirpy, musical, and burry phrases with pauses.  The Yellow-throated Vireo
phrases could have been part of the Blue-headed’s song, but I would guess
that it really was Yellow-throated, because the phrases sounded completely
typical.  I also heard a song of only Yellow-throated Vireo phrases nearby
on June 3.



These two preserves are the best places I’ve found this year near Ithaca
for Blue-headed Vireos.  The parking area along Town Line Road seems to be
the hotly contested boundary between two territories.



* An hour of excellent viewing of at least one adult and three fledgling
LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSHES along Lick Brook in the Sweedler Preserve, upstream
from the very tall waterfall.  The young waterthrushes are in their
distinctive juvenal plumage, with very subtle streaks and varying shades of
buff and white on the underparts.  One of these birds, which stayed still
in the shadows much more than its siblings, had a reduced eyebrow stripe
too.   The adult(s) stood out less by their streaks than by their redder
legs and bill, plus their wary, solicitous behavior.  Also, of course, the
difference in foraging expertise was obvious.  The adult(s) adroitly
accumulated a load of several insects every minute or two, then found a
young mouth to stuff.  The fledglings mostly just browsed and probed and
absorbed their surroundings, though one managed to snap up a white moth
that wandered practically right into its bill.



Here is our eBird checklist with photos of one or two fledglings:
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S37790220.



Mark Chao

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