Sunday, January 23, 2011
Today I spent the entire day with a wonderful group of my birding friends. Most of them I know from the Hawk Watch. Annually we head over to the Westchester side of the Hudson River to look for Bald Eagles that spend the winter on the river where there is open water so they can catch fish. Today we had 75 sightings and were treated to lots of close views and natural behavior. I enjoyed watching several different pairs doing their aerial ballet and then locking talons and falling. We were able to see two different nests and see the pairs that will soon be breeding and raising their new clutches of young. Other highlights of the day was a Merlin attacking a Coopers Hawk right over our heads, what a spectacular show. You could see the size difference and just how different falcons and accipiters are from each other. We also had lots of ducks, Ring-Neck, Canvas Back, Buffle-Head, Woodies, Black, Mallard, Common and Hooded Mergs. No notable passerines other then a gorgeous male Yellow-shafted Flicker.
I had a really great time as always. Only draw back to the day was it was incredibly cold, with the wind chill it was zero or below for the entire day. I am still shivering! Note to self...warmer boots, insulated snowshoeing pants, glove and foot liners! Bring a BIG thermos of hot tea.
Monday, January 17, 2011
This week is the annual NYS Waterfowl Count. I went out yesterday and toured around all the open water in my town. I came up with mostly Canada Geese and Mallards. I did find a gorgeous pair of Hooded Mergansers and a pair of Black Ducks. The Mergansers took my breath away.