Today, 7/9, after being sufficiently buoyed by Mike Britt's post of 7/7, and Karen Fung's up to date information on the "Star(s) of Shawangunk", Patrice Domeischel and I arrived at the Grasslands at 0740, whereupon Patrice, while stepping out of the car, announced "I hear it" ! Before hearing the Henslow's song again, we heard and saw Grasshopper Sparrows and Bobolinks...what a wonderful welcome ! In fact, the handrails of the boardwalk which leads you up to the platform, held a few Grasshoppers that looked and acted like centuries as we approached, albeit, leaving their posts when we got to close !
Once on the platform, we continued to hear the Henslow's vocalize, but did not see it right away. As we scanned the "ridgeline" to the south for the bird's favored perch (a small, but prominent shrub) we noticed a similar described shrub, somewhat closer to the platform, but picked up in the same "field" as you worked the "ridgeline". In short order, the Henslow's appeared on it, and proceeded to sing. It was neat to be able to see it vocalize through the scope, and hear it's song a millisecond afterward ! During our stay (till ~ noon time) the bird left and returned to sing from this shrub at least 6-7 times ! Among these stays, it twice shared this perch with a Savannah Sparrow.
In addition to the blessings of the bird, the fine weather, the number of other species, we met some fine folks ! The highly respected, Ralph Tabor visited us, and provided us with much appreciated information re: the Grasslands ! Toward the end of our stay, a couple from Brooklyn (Linda & Eric Ewing) arrived in pursuit of the Henslow's. Since they didn't have a scope, we left ours with them, while we checked out the nearby waterhole, in hopes of seeing/hearing a family of Virginia Rails Ralph had told us about. Although we dipped on the rails, we did hear some unusual vocalizations coming from the nearby, well occupied Purple Martin house ! Upon returning to the platform, we were gladdened to hear of the Ewing's success !
This specie was quite special for me - in addition to being my first in Ulster Co. and first in N.Y.S., it is the very first I've ever seen/heard anywhere ! The closest I've ever come to getting *Ammodramus henslowii,* was a day late for the bird which stopped by Eric & Lorna Salzman's beautiful woods/marsh property in E.Quogue a few years ago. Sadly, Eric is no longer with us, but his memory is !