Trip Reports
Doodletown Road, Rockland County — June 27, 2009
posted 9/6/09 

Note: This field trip was sponsored by the Edgar A. Mearns Bird Club, a NYSYBC Partner Club. Many thanks especially to Gerhard Patsch and Bob Schlecta, who led us to some great birds while telling us stories about the ghost town of Doodletown.

Trying out the parabola, photo by Carena Pooth
Trying out the parabola that Hope brought
along - which belongs to Lang Elliott
photo by Carena Pooth



On Saturday, June 27th, the New York State Young Birders Club held a field trip to Doodletown, hosted by the Edgar A. Mearns Bird Club.  Doodletown is actually the former site of a small village of the same name, located in what is now Bear Mountain State Park.  Inhabited until the mid-20th century, many of the former buildings and sites offer landmarks for the various microhabitats of the area.

At 7:30 the participants met leader Gerhard Patsch and fellow Mearns Bird Club member Bob Schlecta along the Hudson River at the base of the mountain on which Doodletown sits.  Also present was Rob Meyer, a filmmaker who had previously been involved with documentaries on such channels as PBS, National Geographic, and HBO.  Rob is currently working on his first feature length film which will involve young birders as the focus of the plot.




Turkey Vulture, photo by Hope Batcheller
Turkey Vulture
photo by Hope Batcheller



Our first birds of the trip were Turkey and Black Vultures, which were using a nearby tree as a roost site.  Excellent views were had of both species, an uncommon occurrence, especially for the Black Vulture which has only recently colonized New York.  On the way up various other species were sighted or heard, including Indigo Bunting, Worm-eating Warbler, Eastern Wood-peewee, and Hooded Warbler.  Our first Cerulean Warbler of the day sang and was eventually located.




Gerhard tells us about Doodletown and its birds, photo by Carena Pooth
Gerhard tells us about Doodletown and its birds
photo by Carena Pooth

Once the group reached the former reservoir the activity increased dramatically.  A Broad-winged Hawk and sub-adult Bald Eagle flew over, and almost everyone was afforded excellent looks at a Worm-eating Warbler.  As we continued up the trail, a Louisiana Waterthrush perched in a tree along the trail allowing several participants to get a glimpse.  A male Ruby-throated Hummingbird was performing its incredible U-shaped display flight, and another was perched in full sunlight on a nearby snag.  In the second June cemetery, more Cerulean Warblers were found, as was a Yellow-throated Vireo.

On the way back to the parking area, we tried for a Kentucky Warbler which had spent most of the spring in an area of dense ground cover on a side trail.  Unfortunately we could not locate the bird, and the only new species seen was a single towhee.  The walk back was uneventful besides a few more Indigo Buntings.  Overall it was an excellent trip and provided many participants with either life of state birds to add to their lists.  Thanks to the Edgar A. Mearns Bird Club for sponsoring it and Gerhard Patsch and Bob Schlecta for leading it.

                  — Brent Bomkamp,age 16

             View photo gallery 

List of Birds Seen on this Trip
by Erich Lehner

Great Blue Heron
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Broad-winged Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Ring-billed Gull
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Eastern Phoebe
Empidonax sp.
Eastern Kingbird
Yellow-throated Vireo
Warbling Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Wood Thrush
Gray Catbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Blue-winged Warbler
Cerulean Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Worm-eating Warbler
Louisiana Waterthrush
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler
Scarlet Tanager
Eastern Towhee
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Species Total: 48