Our May trip to River Road in Kent was a great success. Our main target bird there was Cerulean Warbler, which we got later in the trip. Our total was 58 species at River Road, plus 6 more at the Macedonia Road Bridge. The group included: Alex, Brendan and Sean Murtha, Kathy and George Van Der Aue, and myself.
River Road is an amazing location for breeding warblers. While Cerulean is the main target here, there are many other nesting warblers like Hooded and Blue-winged. Other good birds reported there include: Spotted Sandpiper, YB and BB Cuckoos, Scarlet Tanager, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Yellow-throated Vireo and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.
We began our trip at the Beginning of River Road at 7:30 and we could already hear Veery, Red–eyed Vireo, and Gray Catbird. Alex, Brendan and I went down on the rocks to check for insect life. It was an unusually cold morning, but it felt nice to be in the sun to warm up. We could already see Chimney Swifts hawking insects over the river. Then, we saw and heard at least one Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, my first ever on breeding grounds. As we walked down, we heard a variety of other singing birds. These included Baltimore Oriole, Yellow Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, a close Louisiana Waterthrush and heard Magnolia Warbler. We got great looks at a male and female Scarlet Tanager! A Hooded Warbler was heard singing near the up-the-hill pull over. It was a (heard only) State Bird for me. Various Ovenbirds were heard, which is one of my favorite bird songs! Other warblers included Black-and white, Common Yellowthroat and Blackpoll Warblers.
As we got further down the road, we encountered multiple Spotted Sandpipers on the rocks along the river. One flew away from us and landed across the Housatonic River. After it landed, it was hard to spot! On the way back to the car, we heard Great Crested Flycatcher and Eastern Wood-Pewee. At that time, we discussed possible logos for our club. Ideas included: Cerulean Warbler, Bobolink, Saltmarsh Sparrow, Orchard Oriole, Belted Kingfisher, and Blue-winged Warbler. I like the idea of Baltimore Oriole or Belted Kingfisher.
We also heard Black-billed and Yellow-billed Cuckoos. Great bird songs to hear on a crisp spring morning! Wood Thrushes were singing too. Northern Rough-winged Swallows were perched on tree limbs on the side of the river. At their reliable spots, we finally heard Cerulean Warbler from the car. We got out just further down and got good looks of a male in the tree tops over the road. The bird was singing, which was a great time to get extended looks at it. It was a life bird for me, and a year bird for others. Alex was very happy to see his favorite warbler! After we got the Cerulean, we said goodbye to Kathy and George Van Der Aue.
Some of the best birding was at the end of River Road. A Rose-breasted Grosbeak was singing at its usual spot. We stopped at the rocks on the river and saw 2 Purple Martins, which were flagged by eBird. We saw a total of 5+ later on the trail.
Then, we went up the power line cut, which brought some very good birds. We heard an American Redstart singing a song that was identical to Magnolia! We had 40 Redstarts for the day. We saw a nice male Ruby-throated Hummingbird perch on a wire. Two vocalizing Common Ravens flew by over the power line cut. Sean Murtha spotted an adult Bald Eagle flying over, which was a great sight! We all got looks at it. On the way down, we saw many cool butterflies and moths. We are still looking into identifying individual species. I will add to this post when we come up with them.
Landscape at power line cut.
Photo by Aidan Kiley
At the spot where we parked our cars, a Yellow-throated Vireo sang, which was a year bird for Brendan. We heard a few YTVIs on our trip. River Road was quite productive today, as we saw many great species.
Then, we headed to Macedonia Road Bridge to check for Cliff Swallow nests, where they have nested in previous years. We were disappointed to find so active nests. Only a few swallows. A Black Vulture gave us decent looks.
That was the end of our very productive May CTYBC trip! Hope to see you at Sterling Forest!