Friday, June 8, 2007

More Allegany Ramblings

I'm still recovering from last weekend's amazing trip, even as I get together some local trips for this weekend. Stay tuned for some potentially very cool findings. For now, here's some wrap-up of odds and ends that didn't get mentioned the first time around:

First, here's a collection of Allegany Nature Pilgrimage posts from Mon@rch (a park naturalist at Allegany).

Second, here's a cool artifact from our expedition. Some snake skins. Guess the species?

If you guessed Short-headed Garter Snake (Thamnophis brachystoma) you were right! Did you count scales? Yeah, I know its hard from a picture.

Third and finally, the birds! Shawn and I did as much birding on the side as we could manage while flipping rocks like crazy, although it was mostly listening. We managed a total of 91 species for the weekend, with some of the following highlights:

COMMON RAVEN - heard one once from our Red House tent site, in the morning. I was a little disappointed about not seeing more. Allegany used to be one of the few sites in WNY where I could get Raven. Now that I'm in Ithaca, I see them fairly often (they are increasing in numbers in the region).

OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER - 1 on the Red House Maintenance Rd, 1 on Wolf Run Rd. Both migrants, as the closest this species breeds to Allegany is the Adirondacks. This is my first time seeing this species in the US! It's not quite a lifer, as I saw one last fall in Mexico. I got to observe the Wolf Run bird foraging fairly close while eating lunch.

ACADIAN FLYCATCHER - 1 at Camp Allegany, 1 on Bear Springs Trail. My favorite NY Empidonax.

PRAIRIE WARBLER - 3 males on territory on Wolf Run Rd. We got to watch two of those males repeatedly chase each other close to our car as we ate lunch. Also, while moving through the field looking for Shortheads, I happened to turn around and see one of the males singing and foraging not 15 feet away. I got my life Prairie Warbler in Ithaca just a few weeks ago, now I'm getting better looks than I have of many more common warblers...

YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER - 2 singing at the entrance to the Red House Lake
Maintenance Rd. Only spot for this species in WNY that I know of.

BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER - counted a total of 42 at spots we kept track of, there were certainly many more than that. They were EVERYWHERE. Literally every site we stopped at had Blackburnians. Even in the extensive fields of Wolf Run Rd. (in the Southwest corner of the park), there were Blackburnians in the tiny stand of trees in the middle, singing. They outnumbered vireos at some spots.

I think that about wraps up the Allegany ramblings (at least until our potential return later in the summer).

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