My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

Roger Tory Peterson Birding Festival Part 1

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Yellow-Billed Cuckoo

By: Pat Coate

On June 10-13 the Roger Tory Peterson Institute in Jamestown, NY held its second birding festival. The days were filled with wonderful field trips led by incredible guides, and workshops by some of the top men and women in the field. I feel very lucky to have this opportunity so close to home and I really, really enjoyed myself (I sense a certain son of mine will shake his head as he reads this – and speaking of shakes, we felt the tremors from the 5.5 earthquake centered near Ottawa, Canada on 6/23, a first for me).

The yellow-billed cuckoo shown above was one of the many (over 50?) species seen on the Woodchuck Hill field trip. It was a crowd pleaser, giving the whole group an unusually long look. It seemed to many attendees that there are more cuckoos around this year, likely because of the abundance of tent caterpillars.

En06122010 061 Yellow Warbler

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Yellow Warbler

I attended the Whirlwind Warbler Tour picking up two life birds, Mourning and Cerulean warblers. The guides for the Tour are currently doing research on Cerulean warblers, so they knew a couple nest locations where we were able to get good looks at the young ones (through the scope). The distance and lighting made pictures of those two birds tough, so I have included a couple shots of a Yellow Warbler taken during the festival.

En06122010 104 Savannah Sparrow

En06122010 105

Savannah Sparrow

Another bird that provided good looks was the Savannah Sparrow. I’m not sure what evolutionary purpose the yellow around the eyes serves, but I think it looks really cool when the bird is looking right at you like in the photo directly above.

Over the next couple postings I will share additional photos taken from the festival. Jim Berry (president of RTPI) and Mike DeSha (Festival Chair) did a great job with the festival.

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