Note: We are especially grateful to Gerhard Patsch and Bob Slechta of the Edgar A. Mearns Bird Club, a NYSYBC Partner Club, for taking us on this great field trip. Gerhard has led several NYSYBC trips in the past and always works hard to make the birding as good as it can be for us!
Our field trip in search of Cerulean and Hooded Warblers (Setophaga cerulea and S.citrina) amidst the ruins of Doodletown at Bear Mountain State Park was off to a good start even before setting out for the trail. Just shortly after arriving at the trailhead, I had found a Redeyed Vireo singing in the canopy, a Rosebreasted Grosbeak thanks to the grosbeak’s “eek” call, and several good views of an Eastern Kingbird at its nest! Luckily for the other birders, the kingbird and vireo stuck around for good views…
Starting on the trail, we were quick to find an Indigo Bunting singing on an electrical wire, a Great Blue Heron and an unidentified duck (later revealed to be just a log), and an Orchard Oriole spotted by Silas.
Finding both of our target species was much easier than we thought as within a few minutes of spotting the bunting we heard both the Cerulean’s rising “zee zeezeezizizizieeet” and the Hooded Warbler’s “taweetawee taweeTEEtoo” songs, along with some other interesting discoveries: Devil’s WalkingStick, a Great Spangled Fritillary, and (according to Garrett), fox droppings (whether they were from Red or Gray Fox is open for debate). At the lake we had spotted another Eastern Kingbird, a beaver hut, several shiners and a young bullfrog, and either a Northern or a Louisiana Waterthrush. Unfortunately, the sun was in our eyes, which made identification difficult, though we were able to confirm it was a Louisiana Waterthrush.
Later, we found several other interesting types of wildlife such as various insects, a Milk Snake, Creek Chubs, a Brook Trout, an Eastern Phoebe, and we heard a Pileated Woodpecker drumming. The bird that had excited everyone, young and old alike, was also the least unexpected; Etan had flushed an American Woodcock! Several of the older members of our birding group were skeptical, but many of us had seen the bird. On the way back, we found even more birds: Common Yellowthroats, a Wood Thrush, Cedar Waxwings, Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, Bluewinged Warbler, Black Vulture, Green Herons, and a Mute Swan.
After we ate lunch, discussed our species total (56(!)), said our goodbyes, and left, I think we were all satisfied with our birding trip at Doodletown!
List of Birds Seen on this Trip
by Silas Hernandez
Species Total: 56