Sunday, July 14, 2013

Indian Lake Pull-off in Adirondaks, July 13

I had a comfortable room in Speculator Friday night, July 12, at the Village Motel with a comfortable bed, and the room and bath room were very clean.  There was a coffee maker and a refrigerator with a small freezer.  I used the refrigerator to cool the water in my bottles that I carried for drinking.  Across the street from the motel room was a pizza shop, where I bought a nice salad with ham, turkey and cheese in a carry-out container to supplement what I had already eaten.  At the beginning of the day, Friday, July 12, I bought a large sub at a Quick Check gas station and convenience store in Kingston, and ate half of it after arriving back down from Slide Mountain and then half of it when I arrived at the Indian Lake pull-off Friday evening.  I was still hungry when I arrived at the motel Friday evening; thus, the salad. 

Early Saturday morning, I made some coffee and had my one cup of coffee per day.  The residual, I put in a thermos that I carried on this trip, to be available just in case I desperately needed another cup later in the day.  Before leaving for the 12 mile trip north to the Indian Lake pull-off, I bought a freshly made breakfast sandwich, a bottle of orange juice and some blue berry and raspberry turn-overs at a shop across the street from the motel. 

When I arrived at the Indian Lake pull-off near the lake at about 8:30 am, there was more bird activity than last night.  American Redstart and Hermit Thrush were singing, and I heard the vireo again at a distance, but singing louder than last night,  It seemed closer, but still too far to see any movement in the trees.   The song sounded like a Philadelphia Vireo, with higher pitched notes that were repeated slower with each note more drawn out than in the song of Red-eyed Vireo.  However, when I tried playing the song of Philadelphia Vireo, there was no response, but the bird kept on singing and stayed away at a distance.  Once there were some vireo type scolding notes.  Was that a response to the song played?  I needed to get closer to the bird, and put on my long pants and high rubber boots and a jacket to survive the thicker bushes at the woods edge and to walk through the woods to get closer.  When I entered the woods, I discovered an abandoned road bed and a clearing to the left.  I moved to the clearing, because Philadelphia Vireo uses second growth woods and edges.

At the clearing, I got several brief but not perfect views of the vireo, and concluded that it was a Philadelphia Vireo for the following reasons:  small vireo about 90% of the size of a Red-eyed Vireo (actually 87.5% by length using lengths provided in National Geographic Field Guide), more active during feeding and moving through the trees than the larger and slower Red-eyed Vireo, and about the same length as an American Redstart, confirmed in National Geographic Field Guide, smaller bill length than Red-eyed Vireo, and at least twice I got good looks at the gray wings, tail, head and darker cap on the top of the head of this vireo, and once it showed the yellow under-parts.  There appeared to be at least three vireos present, apparently a family group.  I once saw two birds following the singing bird as it flew from one tree to another.   In my past experience on the first New York State Breeding Bird Atlas project (1980 - 1986), I observed warblers, vireos, tanagers as well as other birds singing while they were feeding recently fledged young.  This may be a strategy to keep the feeding flock together rather than a territorial defense.  If so, this may be why I got no strong response to playing the Philadelphia Vireo song.   I heard the song over and over again and got excellent aural comparisons between the recording and the actual song and good enough looks.  There was no doubt that this was a Philadelphia Vireo and very likely the bird or birds reported here earlier in June.   Showers were predicted for the day, and it soon started to rain with intermittent showers, and as a result it became difficult to keep my optics dry.  Shortly, before I decided to leave, a Broad-winged Hawk flew in and at least one or maybe two of the vireos started scolding the hawk.

Here is a link to the photos from e Bird of the Philadelphia Vireo taken at this spot on June 20, 2013.

I left the area and drove south toward the New York Thruway to head home to Cincinnati, Ohio.  I started driving west on the New York thruway at about 12:15 pm.  It was a 10.4 hour drive to Cincinnati, where I arrived at about 11:30 pm, having stopped to eat lunch and dinner and to buy gas at least once during the trip.   I got very good gas mileage on the highway driving part of this trip.  The highest average gas mileage on the trip from the UP Michigan was 41.6 mpg on the Ohio Turnpike on Wednesday evening.  The highest average on the drive to Cincinnati was 40.3 mpg on I- 271 around Cleveland, OH.  My new Dodge Dart is doing fine!

Philadelphia Vireo raises the total to 538. 

This extended trip to Michigan and New York competes the checklist of eastern warblers, vireos and flycatchers.   I was traveling and birding nine days and added thirteen species.  Now I am heading west to Texas, then to North Carolina for some pelagic birding and then back to the west again.                      

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