Sunday, November 22, 2009

Birding by Foot-November

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I decided to bird around my town by foot today with a couple of goals in mind with the first being to check on the local Red-tailed Hawks around the Cross Street area to see if they were still around. I set off with a backpack filled with waters, chocolate and a sandwich and three layers of fleece to keep me warm as it was downright chilly this morning. I started off near the woods in the area where I run now every morning while it is still pitch black. I often wonder as I run by what birds are there during the day so it was the first place I went. I was very happy to see that not only were there the regulars like Black-capped Chickadees, Dark-eyed Juncos, etc. but there were also a small flock of Golden-crowned Kinglets and a Northern Flicker. Funny though because I have never had a flicker in my yard before and these woods are only a few houses down from me. Was there this past summer and didn't hear them then either. Glad they are there now though.

I walked a little over a mile and a half to the Cross Street Powerlines and was overwhelmed with the number and the flock size of the sparrows. There were sparrows on grass, sparrows on top of branches and sparrows hidden in brush like the Field Sparrow above. Very cool to see this bird as I would never have imagined seeing one this late in the year. As you can see it's still as attractive as ever.
I had the usual Song Sparrows like the weird looking one above. Seriously, that rusty colored crown really threw me off as I had never seen it that color on a Song Sparrow before. It did pose nicely for me though.
And my first look this season of the American Tree Sparrow. This one was part of a flock of 12. All of the other sparrows were in this same location and I was treated to a chorus of singing Song Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows and American Tree Sparrows. Some of these birds are first year birds as some would forget their verse in the midst of the song and have to pause for a moment to get their groove back which always makes me laugh. Had never paid much attention to the American Tree Sparrow song before but let me tell you, it's as lovely as the White-throated Sparrow. Such a sweet song from such a sweet bird. I actually sat on a rock in this location and ate a candy bar and just listened to them all which was heaven for me (nothing better than birds and chocolate!)
Mixed in with the sparrows were the regular Dark-eyed Juncos, Northern Cardinals and a large flock of Cedar Waxwings. I had forgotten how much I missed powerline birding until today but it's hard to bird in these areas now with hunting season underway (speaking of which, I bumped into one today which is illegal as it's a Sunday). Was a little annoyed with it because I have a theory on 50% of the hunters out there and that is they don't know how to hunt and have no business carrying a pocket knife, let alone a shotgun, so I don't like to be in the woods with them. The other 50% are fine with me as my fathers side of the family are all avid hunters, just don't do it on a Sunday unless allowed!
Oh, and the whole reason of my journey by foot of course which were the Red-tailed Hawks. Allow me to introduce to to the first one who was perched within the powerline section where trespassing is not allowed so I didn't get closer for a better picture.
Right across the street from that one came this one flying past me.
I saw the hawk again a few moments later getting harassed by a few American Crows. That's right folks, with winter underway you will see many of these pictures as they were my favorite kind last winter! ;-) All in all, birding by foot was a lot of fun and something I will do again. Did about 6 miles and it didn't even feel like it!
Hate to end this post on a sour note, but will. The picture above is bags of leaf litter and old wood that was dumped in the stream in the woods going into the powerline. I have no idea what kind of piece of excrement would do such a thing but it got me so mad that I thought about it for 10 minutes afterwards. Now I know there are a bunch of idiots out there who have no problem dumping their garbage into the woods as they are complete slobs with no respect for wildlife, but this is even lower than that in my opinion. And I wonder why I have less tolerance for people every year I get older. Seriously, I just don't get people at times which is probably why I like to bird so much in the woods, where I don't have to deal with them.

Take care all.


Anonymous said...
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Alan Tilmouth said...

We call it fly-tipping and it comes down to a lack of education, pity the folk that can do this as they never get to experience the joy that being close to a bird can bring.

Kim said...

Very good point Alan. While I agree a lot of it stems from ingnorance, I also think some of it has to do with just a general lack of respect for nature and all of the living creatures who share it with us. One thing discovering nature has taught me is just how out of tune I was with my environment for most of my life. You are so right about the joy a bird can bring and they can also help to open your eyes some. Am actually thinking of going there and cleaning it up myself it has me so upset. I saw American Robins drinking and bathing there last summer so it is really bothering me.

Rich said...

Kim, I am so glad you got in some good hiking/birding and did not land in jail for driving.

The trash issue is terrible but real.
Graffiti also is terrible to see. I used to try to get kids out to appreciate nature but than I realized I was giving some kids a new place to trash.

Chris Petrak said...

Wait a few years and see how intolerance for slobs (and others with no regard for others) continues to grow - it is one type of intolerance that I consider to be okay, along with intolerance for intolerance in general - hmm, now there is a real convoluted thought!


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