An absolutely beautiful morning greeted us for our weekly Saturday bird walk. Weather was clear skies with a starting temperature of 15 degrees, little to no wind. We had 16 birders join us.
Sandy Montgomery led our walk through the George H. Montgomery Phillipsburg Sanctuary. We were so lucky to have Sandy to lead us for our walk as probably no one knows the property better than himself. We were led up the hill on a trail that is not one of the more used trails and at the top we were treated to a Barred Owl flying under the forest canopy. It stopped long enough in a tree for most of us to get good views of it through the trees. It’s black eyes were starring back at us trying to asses our threat. At the top part of the cliffs we were treated to a chorus of Wood Thrushes and Ovenbirds. The area was like an amphitheater with the rocks as a background and I found the sounds to be magical. The birds sounded like they were directly in front of us but we could never visually find them. The day was perfect for a walk in the woods. The leaves on the trees were not full so we were allowed good views of the birds calling. The bugs were not a problem. We were treated to seeing 8 deer walking through the woods. When we arrived at the old sugar shack we were met by another group of birders who Sandy seemed to know the leader a Mr. Papineau. He told Sandy that they had seen 3 Cerulean Warblers during their walk (we did not see or hear any). Mr. Papineau also informed us that they had spotted a Red-bellied Woodpecker nesting. The nest site is within sight of the sugar shack and we were shown the location. We were able to see the female Red-bellied Woodpecker stick her head out of the nesting cavity a couple of times. Our walk ended back at the car park where we did the species list but Sandy said he would also takes us down to where we could see some Bluebirds. Following a quick drive to the Phillipsburg cemetery we were able to see some Bluebirds at the nest boxes. A couple of us were able to watch an Osprey fishing over the marsh at the Sanctuary from the cemetery. The osprey was seen catching a fish and flying off in the direction of the bird feeders at the sanctuary. To note that as our walk started in the morning an Osprey was seen flying overhead carrying sticks, so they are probably nesting in the area.
It was decided that the bird of the day was the three Scarlet Tanagers that we were treated to good views of. The red of the male birds is stunning when seen against the green of the forest canopy. I did notice that after I had downloaded the pictures from the day, we actually had 4 Scarlet Tanagers. We had 3 Males that were clearly seen as well as a female that I had taken a photo of while trying to take a photo of a Red-eyed Vireo.
The day left me with the conclusion that this piece of land is the best forest that I have ever experienced. It is a wonderful experience to walk through this sanctuary and if you have not done so already, take the time to plan a trip down to the area. You will not be disappointed. - Mathias Mutzl
Canada Goose 6, Mallard 6, Double-crested Cormorant 5, Great Blue Heron 1, Turkey Vulture 3, Osprey 1, Red-shouldered Hawk 1, Broad-winged Hawk 2, Mourning Dove 2, Barred Owl 1, Belted Kingfisher 1, Red-bellied Woodpecker 1, Downy Woodpecker 12, Northern Flicker 1, Pileated Woodpecker 1, Eastern Wood-Pewee 1, Least Flycatcher 6, Eastern Phoebe 4, Warbling Vireo 1, Philadelphia Vireo 1, Red-eyed Vireo 1, Blue Jay 6, American Crow 3, Common Raven 2, Tree Swallow 1, Black-capped Chickadee 20, Tufted Titmouse 2, White-breasted Nuthatch 20, Winter Wren 3, Marsh Wren 3, Carolina Wren 1, Golden-crowned Kinglet 1, Ruby-crowned Kinglet 3, Eastern Bluebird 2, Hermit Thrush 5, Wood Thrush 6, American Robin 10, Gray Catbird 2, Brown Thrasher 1, Ovenbird 6, Black-and-white Warbler 1, Common Yellowthroat 2, American Redstart 2, Yellow Warbler 6, Black-throated Green Warbler 1, Chipping Sparrow 2, White-throated Sparrow 1, Song Sparrow 2, Swamp Sparrow 2, Scarlet Tanager 3, Northern Cardinal 6, Rose-breasted Grosbeak 6, Red-winged Blackbird 5, Common Grackle 2, Brown-headed Cowbird 6, Baltimore Oriole 6, House Finch 2, American Goldfinch 10
Bernache du Canada 6, Canard colvert 6, Cormoran à aigrettes 5, Grand héron 1, Urubu à tête rouge 3, Balbuzard pêcheur 1, Buse à épaulettes 1, Petite Buse 2, Tourterelle triste 2, Chouette rayée 1, Martin pêcheur d'Amérique 1, Pic à ventre roux1, Pic mineur 12, Pic flaboyant 1, Grand Pic 1, Pioui de l'Est 1, Moucherolle tchébec 6, Moucherolle phébi 4, Viréo mélodieux 1, Viréo de Philadelphia 1, Viréo aux yeux rouges 1, Geai bleu 6, Corneille d'Amérique 3, Grand corbeau 2, Hirondelle bicolore 1, Mésange à tête noire 20, Mésange bicolore 2, Ssittelle à poitrine blanche 20, Troglodyte mignon 3, Troglodyte des marais 3, Troglodyte de Caroline 1, Roitelet à couronne dorée 1, Roitelet à couronne rubis 3, Merlebleu de l'est 2, Grive solitaire 5, Grive des bois 6, Merle d'Amérique 10, Moqueur chat 2, Moqueur roux 1, Parulines couronnée 6, Paruline noir et blanc 1, Paruline masquée 2, Paruline flamboyante 2, Paruline jaune 6, Paruline à gorge noire 1, Bruant familier 2, Bruant à gorge blanche 1, Bruant chanteur 2, Bruant des marais 2, Tangara écarlate 3, Cardinal rouge 6, Cardinal à poitrine rose 6, Carouge à épaulettes 5, Quiscale bronzé 2, Vacher à tête brune 6, Oriole de Baltimore 6, Roselin familier 2, Chardonneret jaune 10