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August 31, 2017 – Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Up early this morning to chase birds at Green Point WMA.   While it’s still August, warblers seem to be moving back through in numbers, and Green Point seemed like a good place to try.

They were everywhere, moving through the green leaves, appearing and disappearing . . . with identification (and photographing) so much more difficult than in the spring.  No longer in breeding colors . . . the fall yellow and grays present some real challenges.

Still, I had good ids on American Redstarts, Black-throated Greens, Chestnut-sided, Common Yellow-throats and a Wilson’s Warbler.  Throw in a Red-eyed Vireo, a few perching birds and woodpeckers . . . it was a successful morning.

But then came the surprise:

While walking back to the car, I ran into another birder in the Green Point orchard.  We were chatting a bit when I spotted a large gray bird in one of the apple trees.  We pulled out our binoculars . . . and it was a Cuckoo.  After 10 minutes of viewing and photographing, we were both comfortable that we were seeing a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, rare in these parts . . . and a lifer for me.

The Black-billed Cuckoo that we saw back in June  . . . note the red eye ring, compared to the yellow eye ring on the YBC.

To paraphrase Forest Gump’s mom: “You never know what you’re going to get!!!”