After that we'd make our way along the Mid State Trail and head to an open area to look for my Northern Harrier which we'd never get but I did hear a chip note nearby and it wouldn't take long for us to see the bird.
We'd make our way back toward the corn fields and be greeted yet again with the many American Crows nearby taking advantage of the cooperative weather as well as the left over corn I'm guessing. It wouldn't take long for me to see a crow fly from a tree with what appeared to be an accipiter close behind. I'd get my binoculars on it and it would be a Cooper's giving it chase. I'd lose both of them as they flew out of view but soon enough both would return and Alan would get on them as well as the chase pursued. What would be most fascinating about the whole experience was there were other crows nearby who remained in the trees during the chase and wouldn't come to the aid of the crow being harassed and even more odd, they'd be silent. Now if there's one thing corvids are known for (with crows in particular), is their fondness of mobbing hawks and owls (just ask any Red-tailed!). The chase would continue for a few minutes and the crow appeared to get away unscathed. I'm guessing the ballsy crows aren't as brazen when it come to Cooper's so instead of choosing the chase, the chose to freeze instead!
After that excitement was over we'd look to the sky and be happy to see two Sharp-shinned Hawks above.
Our last stop would be The Swedish Cemetery in Auburn in search for my beloved Lincoln's Sparrow as Alan's has had killer looks of them there before so off we went.
The Singing Life of Birds dedicated an entire section to this juvenile bird and conducted an in depth study which in the end shed more light on their song patterns to prove the theory that young Song Sparrows learned how to sing by other neighboring Song Sparrows nearby and each neighborhood may have its own variation which is fascinating when you stop to think of it! While the sparrow above has a long way to go to perfect its song, it was still beautiful to hear in its primitive form.
We'd make our way back toward the car when a van would pull up and park nearby. The passenger would get out we exchanged pleasantries and the first thing he'd ask is "are you bird watchers" (I guess the bins gave us away yet again!!). Alan would reply yes as I shook my head in agreement as this would be the second time today we'd be asked this so should be used to it by now. Still funny how the general population thinks of us birders and find that many are curious and genuinely interested in learning about our hobby (like the first man we encountered who talked our ear off about his own bird finds) and others who look at as if we're some sort of freaks like the car full of gawkers at the Barre Falls Hawk Watch site last week who drove by making pigeon like coos in our direction as we were looking for Broad-wings! There'd be no coos or Broad-wings today but the curious stares do remain!
So while I didn't pick up an FOY birds today it was still great to get out there and watch the birds interact with one another. These are the moments when one learns most about birds in my opinion and its both fascinating and a privilege to experience first hand. How many of us remember the exact time and place we get our FOY's every year as they all seem to blend together in the end. I can guarantee you I'll never forget seeing a Crow being chased by a Coops or the two Sharpies brawling mid air as it's something I'll carry in my mind forever.
Take care all.