The trails I hiked on today included School Mountain Road, East Mountain Loop, Perkins Trail, and the Fahnestock Trail in the Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park. This was a 7.3 mile loop that included hiking up two small mountains, East Mountain and Round Hill, with elevations around 1,100 feet each. These mountains were several miles east of the Hudson River so I didn’t see beautiful views of the river today. However, these woods were very nice, mostly deciduous, hardwood forest. I arrived at about 10:30am so I missed the morning chorus of birds but I still had fun birding. It’s hard to keep your mind on hiking while trying to look at and identify lots of different birds. As I followed Clove Creek along School Mountain Road there seemed waterthrushes every quarter mile or so. I saw two and heard one for a total of three waterthrushes that I believe were all Louisiana Waterthrushes. When I heard the first one sing I thought it was a Yellow Warbler and wrote this down on my list with a question mark next to it. The bird was really close and I tried pishing it in but I scared it away a bit and didn’t get to see it, especially when I was looking for bright yellow. I started to move on and all of a sudden the bird was right next to me singing brilliantly. I had a really good look at it for a solid minute or two at least and saw that it was definitely a waterthrush and not a yellow warbler. The belly looked a bit yellowish in the light and when I looked at my guide I saw that the Northern Waterthrush has the washed yellow appearance. I was unsure if this first bird was a NOWA or LOWA because the lighting may have made the belly look yellowish. A little while later I heard another waterthrush singing and a little while after that I saw another waterthrush. The third one I’m pretty sure was LOWA because it appeared to have a lighter belly, less streaking than NOWA diagrams, and an unspotted throat (I looked in my guide after seeing the first waterthrush). If I had the good camera today I could have taken some great photos of the third bird. All of these waterthrushes defended their territory by letting me know they were there with their beautiful song and definitely coming close to check me out. Another bird that I was unsure of today was a possible Swamp Sparrow or not-so-pretty White-throated Sparrow. This bird had a bit of yellow in the lores area, not a definite white throat, some grayish coloration on the chest similar to a DEJU, and a dirty striping pattern on the head. There were other White-throated Sparrows in the vicinity but it didn’t look like a definite WTSP; After looking in my Sibley bird guide I think it might have been a tan-striped adult WTSP and I don’t think it was a SWSP.
New spring notes: first beaver seen, trout lily leaves, peepers and other frogs singing, invasive wild rose growing leaves, skunk cabbage and another marshy plant growing Bird List: tufted titmouse, brown creeper, ruby-crowned kinglet, turkey vulture, dark-eyed junco, blue-gray gnatcatcher, brown-headed cowbird, eastern bluebird, red-bellied woodpecker, blue jay, American goldfinch, eastern phoebe, norther cardinal, black-capped chickadee, American crow, song sparrow, white-throated sparrow, American robin, Louisiana waterthrush, white-breasted nuthatch, great blue heron, mallard, Canada goose