Trip Reports
Sterling Forest, Orange County — May 24, 2014
posted 1/27/15 

Note: This field trip was led by Shai Mitra, NYSOA director and editor of NYSOA's quarterly journal, The Kingbird. Many thanks to Shai for showing us around this fantastic birding hospot. He taught us many things along the way about birds, ticks, frogs, name it!

Mourning Warbler, photo by Joe Hernandez
Mourning Warbler, photo by Joe Hernandez

The day started at around 7:30 in the morning. It was a bit cold for mid June, and I had to wear a jacket. At our first stop, which was next to a small pond, we saw some geese and Mallards, and a Common Merganser flew over. In addition, in the trees surrounding the area, we heard and caught some glimpses of Warbling Vireos, Yellow Warblers, and Common Yellowthroats. However, the highlight of this first stop was without a doubt the Mourning Warbler. While the looks we got were fleeting, it was quite a nice sight for a trip so late in the spring. Additionally, we got the much-needed tick warning. I found at least five dog ticks on me that day, and there were still one or two crawling around in the car the day after.  However, I must say that pulling my socks over my pants helped a lot with finding them.

Our next stop was much more woodsy. There, we saw quite a few Scarlet Tanagers and Redstarts, and heard a few Worm-eating Warblers and Red-eyed Vireos. In fact, we even caught a glimpse of two vireos in the middle of a territorial dispute. However, the amazing looks we got at an Indigo Bunting were definitely the best part of this stop. The bird stayed in exactly the same place for at least ten minutes, if not more. At the stop after, we were able to find an Olive-sided Flycatcher, and saw many Baltimore Orioles. We also heard a Yellow-breasted Chat calling, but unfortunately, we were barely able to get any kind of look at it before it disappeared and stopped calling.

At our last stop, we didn’t see much in the way of new species. We were able to see a Blue-winged Warbler, and there was a Red-tailed Hawk off in the distance. However, we were able to hear some interesting species, like Cerulean Warbler, and Alder Flycatcher. Overall, it was a very nice day of birding, where we were able to see a large number of species, and bird in a diverse mix of habitats.

                                                                                                                  — Max Pine, Age 16

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List of Birds Seen on this Trip

Canada Goose
Mute Swan
Wood Duck
Common Merganser
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Black Vulture
Red-tailed Hawk
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Black-billed Cuckoo*
Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Acadian Flycatcher
Alder Flycatcher
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher

*NYSYBC Life Bird

Eastern Kingbird
Yellow-throated Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Cedar Waxwing
Worm-eating Warbler
Louisiana Waterthrush
Golden-winged Warbler
Blue-winged Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Mourning Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler
American Redstart
Cerulean Warbler
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Pine Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Canada Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat*
Chipping Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Scarlet Tanager
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
American Goldfinch

Species Total: 70