The Catskill-Coxsackie CBC I have now done for 3 years in a row. Its one I look forward to very much each year, because it hands down has the best compilation dinner of any CBC I’ve done. Not only is the food usually good, but the company (competition?) of our fellow CBCers make it an interesting evening.
This year, Danika joined me and we took the northern half of Section A (The sector Matt Medler/Corey Finger and I covered last year), which runs just south of Stuyvesant in Columbia County to the end of the town of Stockport. It includes to excellent areas of Hudson River viewing, first at Newton Hook and then at Stockport Station.
Warm air had invaded the region Sunday and Sunday night, melting all the ice. This made for much better counting, but we still had to deal with down power lines and debris in the roads!
The day started out horrible, my mother in-law was late to watch the kids, and we didn’t leave the house until nearly 8:45am! We arrived on territory around 9:30, was driving down the road and saw a small group of American Robins take off. Pulling over, we discovered the woods were alive with birds. Hundreds of Robins and at least 100 Cedar Waxwings were busy feeding on some type of berry in the woods. Eastern Bluebird was present, European Starling, Northern Flicker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Pileated Woodpecker, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers! Black-Capped Chickadees and Tufted Titmice flitted through the tree’s, Golden-Crowned Kinglets among them, White-breasted Nuthatch laughed at me from the tree’s, before long we had already logged 19 species in one giant mixed flocked!
I was bound and determined to find a Hermit Thrush in such a large flock of Robins. Since the woods sloped up away from the road, the understory was at eye level for me. I checked every Robin, but couldn’t find a single Hermit Thrush.
After about 30 minutes I spotted a bird in a bush next to the road. Putting into my bins, I could see two bold wing bars and then the bird flushed back into the woods, very yellow I thought. Exciting thoughts started racing through my mind, “Western Tanager!” I was thinking to myself, but Danika hadn’t seen it and the camera was being useful in the car. I called her back, got the camera ready and waited… and waited… and waited. I tried doing some spishing, but that didn’t help (Except call every Chickadee in the known universe to me). After what seemed like ages, the bird in question returned to the bush and this time I got a much better look, while Danika took pictures. Turns out the bird was NOT a Western Tanager as I had hoped but a….
… Baltimore Oriole! Turns out this is the 1st count record for this species and the Catskill-Coxsackie Count has been run for the 48 years! In addition to this find, Danika and I were able to add 2 Field Sparrows, a tough bird to get on Upstate CBC’s as well! We also had a near Albino Red-tailed Hawk, good numbers of Northern Harrier and were able to add a lot of common birds, to bring our section total up to 41 species, which is spectacular for an upstate sector! At the dinner that night, turns out there were 3 new species to the count, in addition to the Oriole, a House Wren was reported (although no photos) and a Golden Eagle was spotted. Pretty cool birds all the way around!