Monday, August 23, 2010

A little side trip

August is a great month to see migrating shorebirds, but since the top of Roundtop Mtn. isn’t known as a shorebird hot spot, this weekend I took a short side trip. I didn’t, unfortunately, have time to visit one of the true shorebird hot spots along the east coast, so I had to make do with traveling to the nearby Susquehanna River.
I didn’t find tons of shorebirds, though whenever I find a few things that I don’t see up on the mountain, I am happy with that. And I did find a few good sightings. My photo today shows two of them, but you will have to squint and look pretty close to see them. In the foreground is a green heron and a juvenile black-crowned night heron. The heron is pretty common, the night heron I see here only in migration. I’ve seen them here before but rarely more than once a year or so.

Another sure sign of late summer—the wood ducks (and presumably other species that I didn’t see) are molting. Tree swallows seem to be readying themselves to head south, as well. Also of note were a bald eagle and two ospreys.

The river is pretty low right now. I am seeing rocks that I don’t usually see. That made the great blue herons and great egrets pretty happy as they stepped delicately along the water’s edge. Habitat is everything when it comes to birdwatching. Mountain birds and water-loving birds might as well be on different planets. For me, traveling a few miles down to the river brings an entirely new set of birds to look at, and that’s part of what keeps it fun.

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