Note: We are especially grateful to Lance Verderame of the Sullivan County Audubon Society, a NYSYBC Partner Club, for taking us out on this excellent field trip. Lance
is a well-known local birding expert who has led several NYSYBC trips in the past. For more information on the Sullivan
County Audubon Society and Sullivan County birding hotspots,
On a warm, sunny, neotropical migrant filled May day, the NYSYBC headed out to the renowned Basha Kill Wildlife Management Area in Sullivan County. Before the official start of the trip, several brave birders were out owling around 5 in the morning. Highlights included; American Bittern (seen!) and Common Nighthawks.
As the rest of the birders pulled in, Lance received a call that on the main nature trail, they were seeing and hearing Tennessee Warblers, Bay-breasted Warblers, and many other species of warblers. We raced down the narrow, winding road to the "Nature Trail," a popular spot for migrants. As we entered the trail, birds were singing everywhere. Things were fluttering high up in the canopy, and as you would focus on to it, you would hear something more interesting. It was overwhelming.
There were reports of a Mourning Warbler, an uncommon skulker, moving around the trail in the back. American Redstarts, Magnolia Warblers, Baltimore Orioles, Wood Thrush, Warbling Vireos, and Carolina Wrens were everywhere. We even heard a Pied-billed Grebe off in the distance. We heard the Mourning Warbler, but no success of finding it.
As we continued down the path, we reached a dead spot, but an enormous Bald Eagle on a pine tree was a treat. Other interesting birds seen were Swainson's Thrush, Veery, and a lone Great Blue Heron.
Suddenly, the Mourning Warbler sang again in the distance. After about 10 minutes of searching, success!!!! It poked its head out of the thick brush, and then its whole body. What a wonderful view of such a secretive bird!!
As we walked back to the parking lot, a bright male Canada Warbler appeared at the top of the canopy and showed off his colors. By the marsh, a female Yellow Warbler was seen on her nest. She was difficult to spot, and that was probably what she was going for. We wished her best of luck with her brood, then moved on when someone spotted a Cerulean Warbler. It turned out to be a female, but her partner later appeared and showed off his bright blue.
Our next stop was by Haven Road, the entrance road that goes through the swamp. This trail parallels the swamp, with rails and bitterns possible. Rails and bitterns weren't seen, but a Green Heron, Northern Waterthrush, and many Wilson's Warblers seen. A close by persistent singing Least Flycatcher was heard, but to our frustration, not seen.
Overall, it was a very productive May morning with 17 species of warblers seen and 65 species of birds seen.
List of Birds Seen on this Trip by Eamon Freiburger, age 13
Great Blue Heron
Great Crested Flycatcher
| Fish Crow
| Chestnut-sided Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Species Total: 65