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RFI Washington DC to Toronto in September/October (1 Viewer)

StevePreddy

Well-known member
Hi

I'm visiting the US and Canada for two weeks in late October / early October, flying into Newark airport and visiting Washington DC, Philadelphia, Cape May, Hawk Mountain, Ithaca, Niagara and Toronto. I've got lots of gen already from eBird, Sibley's Cape May book and the numerous trip reports on the web from this area, but have a few specific questions which some of you may be able to answer. Here goes:

1. How easy is it to connect with Red-headed Woodpecker in this area at this time of year? I get the impression it's quite localised. Assuming I don't get lucky with a migrant at Cape May, are there any reliable sites anywhere on or near my route?

2. Is Winter Wren a common and widespread resident in northern NY and the Niagara/Toronto areas or do I need to seek it out at specific sites?

3. Any recommendations for sites for nightbirds at this time of year (particularly Barred Owl which is turning into a bit of a bogey bird)?

4. Am I too late for Virginia Rail and Least Bittern?

5. Am I too early for American Woodcock, Rusty Blackbird, Purple Finch, Nelson's Sparrow, American Tree Sparrow, Red Fox Sparrow and Henslow's Sparrow?

6. Is the idea of looking for Ruffed Grouse on my trip as daft as the idea of looking for Hazel Grouse in Europe at this time of year and I should just forget that and come back in spring?

7. For Spruce Grouse, Black-backed Woodpecker and Boreal Chickadee, I have to head much further north, right?

8. How far north does the Carolina x Black-capped Chickadee hybrid zone reach these days?

Thanks in advance!
 

chris murphy

Used Register
Hi

I'm visiting the US and Canada for two weeks in late October / early October, flying into Newark airport and visiting Washington DC, Philadelphia, Cape May, Hawk Mountain, Ithaca, Niagara and Toronto. I've got lots of gen already from eBird, Sibley's Cape May book and the numerous trip reports on the web from this area, but have a few specific questions which some of you may be able to answer. Here goes:

1. How easy is it to connect with Red-headed Woodpecker in this area at this time of year? I get the impression it's quite localised. Assuming I don't get lucky with a migrant at Cape May, are there any reliable sites anywhere on or near my route?

2. Is Winter Wren a common and widespread resident in northern NY and the Niagara/Toronto areas or do I need to seek it out at specific sites?

3. Any recommendations for sites for nightbirds at this time of year (particularly Barred Owl which is turning into a bit of a bogey bird)?

4. Am I too late for Virginia Rail and Least Bittern?

5. Am I too early for American Woodcock, Rusty Blackbird, Purple Finch, Nelson's Sparrow, American Tree Sparrow, Red Fox Sparrow and Henslow's Sparrow?

6. Is the idea of looking for Ruffed Grouse on my trip as daft as the idea of looking for Hazel Grouse in Europe at this time of year and I should just forget that and come back in spring?

7. For Spruce Grouse, Black-backed Woodpecker and Boreal Chickadee, I have to head much further north, right?

8. How far north does the Carolina x Black-capped Chickadee hybrid zone reach these days?

Thanks in advance!

Hi Steve

When I have been to PA I have usually done well with Red-Headed Woodpecker in Gettysburg NMP in Adams County (my avatar was taken from the Pennsylvania monument). As well as being a stunning location it also seems to have decent numbers of woodpeckers. I have seen juveniles and adults there in early to mid Sept, but I'm not sure about October.
6.) I have had Ruffed Grouse at Scotia Barrens in PA in September, again, not sure about October.
8.) I have had Carolina Chickadee in SE PA and Black-capped in central PA.
Can't assist with any of the others but hope this helps.
Chris
 

Jeff Hopkins

Just another...observer
United States
In PA, the chickadee hybrid zone runs roughly from the Lehigh Valley to Lancaster. I live near Allentown and I basically assume that chickadees south of Quakertown are Carolinas, and those north of the Kittatinny Ridge are Black-caps, with anything in between assumed to be hybrids (except in winter when we get migrant Black-caps from up north).

Ruffed Grouse would require luck in the fall. Although they are on the Kittatinny year round, I've only seen them in winter and spring.

Purple Finch breeds in the Poconos, but they're very local and uncommon.

Nelson's Sparrow should be moving through the Jersey Shore in early October. Brigantine is a good place for them.

Rusty Blackbird, Fox Sparrow, and Tree Sparrow are usually later than October here in eastern PA.
 
Last edited:

birdmeister

Well-known member
United States
The only thing I can add is that I think you could see Purple Finch in late Sept/Oct (if it's a decent year for them) in the early morning at both Hawk Mountain and cape May.
 

Fraulein ash

Woodpecker stalker
I don't know how much help this will be, but I live in NY state and we travel around the state occasionally in search of the Red-Headed Woodpecker and have done so for the past few years. We go camping a handful of times a year, I'm forever searching for them. ... we have not found any. Probably because I am so desperate to find them and I try sooooo hard, haha! Not to mention there are no reports of them on e-bird or other bird locating apps, but I honestly believe that's due to the lack of people using the apps and not necessarily lack of the Red Headed Woodpecker itself. I *have* to believe that. I don't want to believe it's *this* hard!


There are a few members here who have seen them recently, you can maybe check the threads? They are further south than me.



I do have a family of Barred owls that live down the street, super cool birds! :) I also saw another in a tree, hooting and hollering in the middle of the afternoon. Thank goodness because I wouldn't have found him otherwise! They are pretty common around me, but I live abt 40 min away from Albany, the state capital.


You will see black capped chickadees no matter where you are in NY, extremely common. I don't know much abt sparrows, they all look the same to me, lol.


Good luck!
 

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