Sunday, September 27, 2009

Saturday Local Birding

Did a little birding w/ Alan on Saturday morning out in Oxford. There were quite a few birds out there but all were on a mission for breakfast so it was rather hard to get them to still still long enough for decent pictures. When they did sit still long enough for a decent picture, they did so under the still remaining cover of leaves which made it even more challenging. Despite all that though, I was able to manage this shot of a Common Yellowthroat.
A photo of one of two Great-blue Herons we saw there as well.
Ventured off on my own for the rest of the day and decided to go back to the Millbury Cemetery to see what would be there today. The first thing I saw, just like yesterday was a flock of Chipping Sparrows going from the trees to the various dirt piles. It is actually very interesting to see as I had never seen them do this before because they were not forming flocks in spring obviously.
One of the most entertaining things they do is chase after one another in erratic circles that can make you dizzy if you are trying to follow them w/ your bins or camera!
While this shot was not totally in focus, I love the rufous crown this beautiful sparrow still has.Also heard a couple of House Wrens scolding each other so I pished them into view for an attempted photo.
I decided to go to the Cross Street area where I usually run the power lines to see what would be there. The first bird I saw was this Red-tailed Hawk. What first struck me about this particular bird was how white it is right above its bill. I decided to look at my previous photos of the Red-tailed Hawks who nested very close to this area to see if either of the parents had this white above the bill, but couldn't find any white on them. I did some research on the territorial behaviour of Red-tailed Hawks and found that their territory can be as large as three square miles. The location of this bird to the Red-tailed Hawks nest is less than a quarter mile as far as I know so this one has me perplexed. I don't think its a juvenile based on the red tail, and I don't think its one of the adults so I am guessing a stray of some kind (unless the adults have left the area-but I am not at all convinced of that). The only other thing I can think of is molting?

Edited to Add: It was so lousy out today that I went to Barnes & Noble and got myself wired up on triple espressos and bought "Peterson's Hawks of North America". In reading the section on "molting", it states that this is done on its primaries and mentions no other kind of molting so that rules that out. I guess the bird is just special that's all as Red-tailed Hawks never look exactly alike as far as I can tell anyhow, just like people I guess.

Speaking of molting, it appears as if this one is doing so with its secondaries as shown in the photo above.
Finally a shot if it flying away whee you can get a good look at the slight dihedral.
At least one of the Common Ravens from this spring still resides in and around the Millbury area. I could hear the call of one and looked above as it passed me. One of the things that first struck me about the bird was the long tail and the shape of its wings. These birds can often be confused with raptors when scanning the skies and the shot above is a good example of why!
The Common Raven was very vocal as he perched upon the fixture above. One of my favorite calls of all times. While its not pretty, its magic to the ears.

Take care all


Chris Petrak said...

I am especially interested in your House Wren. I can't remember when I have seen one this late, even when we lived in E.Pa. They would abandon their third brood the second week of August and disappear. Your wren's posture suggests territory protection. Very interesting!

madcobug said...

You sure saw a lot of birds while you were out and about. This reminds me since the dew is gone I need to go feed the birds here. Helen

NCmountainwoman said...

Looks like another great birding day. You found some interesting ones.

Samuel said...

Good sightings. I like the picture of the hawk.

Ratty said...

Great pictures of them all. And very interesting information about this unique red-tailed hawk.

Rich said...


I like the commentary as well as the photos.

We are shutting down the remote ranger station at the end of this week. Moving on.

Kim said...

Hey Rich, so sorry to hear that. Do you know where you are headed?


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