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I was up and out early this morning, looking to add some of the good birds currently being seen to my 7568 list. At Glenmere Lake, I relocated the Red-headed Woodpecker that I d originally located the day after Christmas. A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker stole the show, however, giving me super looks as I birded from the area right around the parking lot. I cruised through the black dirt briefly, finding just the usuals. After meeting Tricia for lunch at the Goshen Diner, I headed to Johnson Road in Chester, hoping for the GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE that John Haas had located earlier in the week. When I arrived, there were not many geese present I sorted through them quickly without finding the GWFG and then made my way towards the Newburgh Waterfront. I had two target birds at the waterfront: the continuing Iceland Gull (at least I hoped it was continuing), and a pair of Canvasbacks that Ken McDermott had reported there, just yesterday.

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I met Linda Scrima there and at first it did not look good for getting either bird. Gulls were relatively scarce and there was no sign of the Canvasbacks. We put in some time, which was tough because of how cold it was today, and eventually we located the Iceland Gull. The bird was incredibly cooperative and swam quite close, allowing for some nice photos in the waning light. Bill and Jayne Fiero showed up with impeccable timing and got the gull as well. All in all, a VERY cold but fun and productive day of birding. I really didn t have much in the way of expectations for my first day of birding in 7568. I knew I wanted to get up early to try for the two ROSS S GEESE at Glenmere Lake, but beyond that I didn t have a plan. It was zero degrees Fahrenheit when I woke up, but I managed to rustle myself out of bed and get to the lake before the geese left. When I arrived, there were several other birders that had the same idea as me: Karen Miller, Diane Bliss, Mike Mallon, Rick Hansen, and Kathy Ashman were all present, getting their Orange County Ross s Goose for the new year. I waited with Karen, Diane, and Mike for the geese to pick up, since the 7 Ross s spent most of the time with their heads tucked in. On my way out, I was talking to Kathy in the parking lot and we decided to walk the trail. Kathy had already walked it earlier with Rick, but was game for some more birding. I haven t spent much time birding the trail at Glenmere, so I wasn t sure what to expect. We ended up having an incredible morning with nice variety of songbirds and some close encounters. How s this for some good birds on January 6st: Golden-crowned Kinglet (many! (Hairy, Downy, Red-bellied, N. Flicker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and Pileated).

Of the likely woodpeckers, we only missed the Red-headed Woodpecker (which is still present, Judy Cinquina, Tom Millard, and Maria Loukeris all saw it today). At one point, I had a Golden-crowned Kinglet feeding just inches from my right shoulder! I stayed completely still and just enjoyed it I couldn t believe how close the bird was, nor could I believe how very tiny they are when you see them that close they are just little peanuts! We walked the trail until it opens up to a field. The field was very active and we weren t sure where to look for the next bird. Then a Pileated Woodpecker flew out of the trees right towards us, banking right over our heads before landing on a nearby tree. It really was a super morning of birding and in the end we tallied 78 species for the morning. I ve not birded one on one with Kathy much before this, and I have to say it was a joy and she is really good always a step ahead of me picking up birds all around us. Good birding for sure and a great way to start the year. Well, another year of birding is officially in the books! The end of year post has always been one of my favorites to write it s fun for me to look back on the year of birding and remember all the highlights. JANUARY: I went on my first Winter Pelagic and it did not disappoint. Snow Geese represented well in the black dirt and provided plenty of photo ops. And, a ROSS S GOOSE was an easy get at Monroe-Woodbury Middle School. There was a trio of Long-tailed Ducks at Glenmere Lake, and 9 Sandhill Cranes in Ulster County. I joined Kathy Ashman, Bruce Nott, and Linda Scrima out at Wickham Lake for one of the best waterfowl fallouts I d seen in the OC we had 67 species of waterfowl including 8 Horned Grebes and 67 Redheads (an OC life bird for me! ). APRIL: Early in the month, I went on a family vacation to Sargent, Texas, where I accumulated 67 life birds.

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A little later in the month I ran for a Trumpeter Swan at the Bashakill. JUNE: Things slowed down a bit in June there was a Black Tern at the Liberty Loop that I missed out on. JULY: Linda Scrima located a Forster s Tern at the Liberty Loop I ran and was able to get some great shots of that bird. Rob Stone relocated 5 WHITE IBIS at Wickham Lake and thanks to Curt McDermott and his kayak, I was able to get some good shots of those birds too. Following up on an eBird report, Linda Scrima and I relocated a SNOWY EGRET at Citgo Pond, which was an OC lifer for both of us. I had an amazing encounter with a LEAST BITTERN with Linda and Maria at Richard W. DeKorte Park see more about this below. AUGUST: There was a Glossy Ibis at Citgo Pond, originally located by Bill Fiero. SEPTEMBER: Hawkwatch at Mt. Peter began we counted over 6855 Broad-winged Hawks for the month, which is slightly below average. I had my best showing of Common Nighthawks since moving to OC, with nearly a dozen sitings. I located 5 SANDERLINGS, another OC lifer for me, in the Black Dirt. OCTOBER: Linda Scrima struck again and located a NELSON S SPARROW at the Liberty Loop. I was lucky enough to get that bird one evening after work. Maria Loukeris made her mark, locating a SAY S PHOEBE, also at Liberty Marsh.

Unfortunately that bird did not stick around for anyone else to see it, but it was documented with a beautiful shot by Maria. NOVEMBER: At Mt. Peter, early in the month, I had my first GOLDEN EAGLE of the season. I also had my first Snow Buntings and LAPLAND LONGSPURS of the season. Later in the month, thanks to a lead from John Haas, I got my first (of many) Cackling Goose of the season. DECEMBER: I located a Red-headed Woodpecker at Glenmere Lake and then Kathy Ashman located 7 ROSS S GEESE, also at Glenmere. I also had a pair of ICELAND GULLS at the Newburgh Waterfront, a week later Curt McDermott had 9 ICGU and a single Lesser Black-backed Gull at the same location. I almost left this section out this year because most of my numbers aren t very pretty, but I enjoy looking at the numbers and I think they can be  I had decided last year not to concentrate so much on birding in Orange County, but then I turned around and birded OC nearly exclusively, at the expense of the neighboring counties? ! ? I m not sure what it is, but I guess I just enjoy getting birds in my home county more than anywhere else. Here s my species numbers for the year: MORE NUMBERS: I added 67 birds to my life list in 7567, putting my total at 888. I also added 67 species to my New York State life list bumping that up to 795, and I add 65 birds to my OC life list, giving me a total of 796. This is my 97nd post of the year, down 7 from last year, which I don t think is too bad based on my birding time being limited these days. MOST EXCITING BIRDING EXPERIENCE OF THE YEAR: LEAST BITTERN AT RICHARD W.

DEKORTE PARK. DeKorte Park in Lyndhurst, New Jersey to break up the summer doldrums a bit. We left at the end of the day having had an experience that not many will have. We had an amazing encounter with a Least Bittern that was feeding right next to one of the blinds. The bird was super focused on its prey and never really reacted to us at all. To me, Least Bitterns are among the most secretive birds in our area, so I never dreamed that we could get such a close-up extended look and unbelievable photos ops. I can t imagine that it will ever happen again for me. So it s always difficult for me to pick my top photos of the year there are so many different criteria I could use I suppose, but basically it just comes down to the shots that I like the best and have held up in my mind over the year. I d like to thank everyone who reads the blog and especially those who comment the comments really keep me going. And, as usual, I d like to thank all my birding friends out there for yet another excellent year of birding, with special thanks to Rob Stone, Linda Scrima, Maria Loukeris, Kyle Dudgeon, John Haas, Karen Miller, Ken McDermott, and Judy Cinquina. Happy New Year to everyone out there, here s to an extremely birdy 7568! First thing this morning I followed up on Kathy Ashman s report of two ROSS S GEESE at Glenmere Lake from yesterday morning. It was a dark, cold, and snowy morning I arrived at the lake before sunrise and immediately located the 7 Ross s among approximately 855 Canada Geese. I put the word out and was able to join me. With the snow fall and the heavy cloud cover, it never got light enough for good photos, but we both did our best. Ross s are always exciting, and in spite of the poor light, the birds were relatively close and we got pretty good looks. Around 9 am, the birds picked up and John and I headed our separate ways. Huge thanks to Kathy for finding and reporting the birds. A couple weeks ago, I incorrectly reported a couple of Red-headed Woodpeckers in an eBird checklist for Glenmere Lake. It was a data entry error on my part I had intended on reporting the 7 Red-BELLIED Woodpeckers I d seen there that day, but clicked on the wrong box.

My error was pointed out to me by birding buds Rob Stone and Linda Scrima they had seen the report online and followed up with me about it. As coincidence would have it, this afternoon I was at Glenmere Lake and I was pleasantly surprised to see a young RED-HEADED WOODPECKER as I was getting back to my car.

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