Saturday, March 14, 2009


There is no doubt! SPRING IS HERE AT ESOPUS. Out on what we stll call "Pells" (because it is the piece of property that we bought from Robert Livingston Pell later on in 1954) I heard a Long-Eared Owl (or more!!), an Eastern Tohwee, Song Sparrows, an Ovenbird.....(Well, I heard what I understood as its "Teacher, Teacher, Teacher!!) call, the usual crowd of Red-Winged Blackbirds, an Eastern Phoebe and a Carolina Wren) Well, let me be honest! (Because anyone who knows anything about us birders knows that an "unchaperoned birder" is capable of, if not "outright deceit", at the minimum...a bit of "exaggeration"). So, being honest, I have to say that what I "thought" was the Ovenbird's song might have ACTUALLY been a "variation" of the Carolina Wren's. And so I will put two links here: 1. Song of the Carolina Wren-- and 2. The Ovenbird. You, who I HOPE will respond will be the judges. So get out there and enjoy this early "March Spring" yourselves!!!

Friday, March 13, 2009


I had a poll with the question, What bird is named for Captain Lewis of the Lewis & Clarke Expedition? The answer is Lewis's Woodpecker. (I had posted it as the mystery bird a few days ago. But no one who answered the poll caught it). A few years ago I went with two friends: Andy and Clem on a trip in which we visited Traveller's Rest the place where Lewis & Clarke camped after their hazardous crossing of the Rockies. I was on the lookout for Lewis's Woodpecker, with its interesting mixture of green and red. But I never did see it. One interesting thing that they learned was how the Poor Whill hibernates in a way that they actually seem dead if one finds them by day as either Lewis or Clarke did.

Yesterday our small herd of deer were "cavorting". That's exactly the word that came to mind as I saw them kicking up their heels and frolicking along the field. It is I guess an early spring. The noreaster of a week and a half ago did not drop much snow here in Ulster County. My snowshoes are definitely "packed away". (This picture is of my brother Dan enjoying the River from a bench at Esopus Lighthouse.

Thursday, March 12, 2009



The Kingfisher that I saw last Fall at Esopus Meadows (within the "Esopus Lighthous Park") has returned. Yesterday (March 11th) he (or she) was clicking over the water towards the point heading down towards Esopus Island. A lot of driftwood has come into the shore on the Read Path over there. You can see this HUDSON RIVER BIRDER showing the girth of a piece of one large tree. (I am not sure if it is an oak, but I suspect it is "or was").

I had an interesting exchange with a very nice and committed person in the NYSDEC, Mr. Peter Nye. He reminded me of something I really should have taken into consideration. This is the need to preserve in tranquillity the nesting sites of birds. This applies to ALL nest I believe, but most especially to those that are endangered. I was speaking to my younger brother and he told me something that is sadly true. He said, There are lots of hunters that are good people and responsable ones. But there are others who just like to kill things. He described to me a picture he had seen somewhere where some people had killed an eagle. Then they proudly (???) spread it over the hood of their car, took a picture and "showed it off" to their "friends" (???). When I was young I ran into kids who liked to torture and dismember animals. It gave me the chills then and still does to remember it. I really believe that all life is sacred. I am grateful to Mr. Nye for reminding me not to advertise the exact location of nesting sites if I so happen to discover them. We all, including our friends in the animal and tree world, as well as those of us who are supposed to be the "stewards and caretakers of nature" WE ALL DESERVE A PEACEFUL, UNDISTURBED PLACE TO LIVE, TO GROW AND TO BE AT PEACE.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


This moring it is cold (34F) and damp. Down by our two "Entrance Lakes" I heard what seemed very much like this sound which I think is the Long-Eared Owl. To hear them either the male or female go to where you have the sounds for either the male "Asio Otus" or female. (I compared them to the Saw Whet (to which it sounds nothing like) and the Short-Eared Owl which have a faster whoo and with the female which have a very different call). So please check it out. And feel very free to call and correct me. (That's what blogs are for...."two-way" communication). I am also "pretty" sure that I saw and heard a Pewee yesterday. It was not the Wood Pewee but the simply Eastern Pewee. I also got a comment from someone in the NYSDEC in Albany. I am pretty sure it is about the Eagle's Nest. Let me "guess" here a bit. I am figuring that they will want be to be very careful about not identifying the "exact" location of the nest and also about being most respectful about approaching it and allowing others to approach it. I fully understand these concerns. One of the problems about beautiful private property is that people naturally want to "see it and admire it". The other day I read something that defined environmentalists as persons who "see humans as a blight or at least a threat to the environment" and conservationists as simply "wanting to preserve a healthy and coexistence between the human, and non human parts of creation/environment"... I don't know if all people accept that definition of each group. But I personally believe in the need....for humans to coexist and respect ALL of the world, all of creation. BECAUSE IT IS, OF COURSE EVERYBODY'S HOME.

Monday, March 9, 2009


Yes, I know, as I said before, they are not OUR...but everybody's eagles. But since I' ve seen this one rebuilding its you will understand I feel "close" to them. They are building their nests and I may see an immature flying with its parents as I did over the Hudson last Fall, an awesome sight indeed! That is him "or her"...flying. (If I had Debra or Lloyd's or any of those Central Park birders' cameras, the shot would be much more impressive!) I took these last week..

One of my favorite sites (I have a link to it) is the Mohonk Nature Preserve founded by the Quaker Smiley Brothers the in the 19th century (about 1864). Yesterday, since I am a member, I was walking the Undercliff Carriage Trail on the West Trapps Trail of the Preserve. It includes the Shawangums Mountains just west of New Paltz, NY which are one of the best Rock Climbing sites in New York and maybe in the USA. The grey white quartizite conglomerate is extremely hard, about 99% pure quartz. There are many approved routes up the cliffs. Yesterday there were about 15 climbers that I could count. The last one I met was quite interesting. There she was, a young mom about 70 feet up the cliff while her young husband had the support rope in one hand and their 7 or 8 month baby in the other hand. I greeted the man, looked at the baby and said, And do you want to climb when your grow up too just like mommie? The little boy smiled which I intrepreted as a "Yes!"