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 -- Cayugabirds-L List Info: http://www.NortheastBirding.com/CayugabirdsWELCOME http://www.NortheastBirding.com/CayugabirdsRULES http://www.NortheastBirding.com/CayugabirdsSubscribeConfigurationLeave.htm ARCHIVES: 1) http://firstname.lastname@example.org/maillist.html 2) http://www.surfbirds.com/birdingmail/Group/Cayugabirds 3) http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/CAYU.html Please submit your observations to eBird: http://ebird.org/content/ebird/ --