Monday, January 10, 2011

To the Reservoir, and Beyond!

Today I decided to go up to the reservoir, hoping there would be some different types of ducks there.  Ha!

Well, just after entering the park this yellow bellied sap sucker came over and posed for me.  Isn't he gorgeous?

Then a few blue jays were foraging on the snow, and moving just barely slowly enough to allow a picture!  It's like they were welcoming me to a bird-filled winter wonderland.

And it was quite wintry - the reservoir was almost totally frozen over, and there were no ducks at all, just gulls! Well, to be fair, one crow came over and sat on the edge of the ice.  Was it a fish crow?  I have no idea.  The pictures are not great because it was so far away, and I didn't think it was special enough to backtrack for.  So it's just a mystery crow that was on the ice.  And i did see a nice pair of hawks circling above and by the buildings on the east side, which was great!

In the trees along the reservoir path there were pockets of activity with sparrows (mostly white-throat with a couple of song), tufted titmouses, and the occasional white-breasted nuthatch.

Going over to the pinetum I saw several robins, they looked quite pretty.  Their colors are so rich now, not as bright as in the summer, but quite elegant.  Once in the pinetum I saw a flicker and this red bellied woodpecker, but no owls.  Hey, gotta check, right?  :-)

Another tufted titmouse making sure I got the full impact of its tuft.  :-)

Down to the castle without getting lost (I think that's a first!) where I looked around but didn't see anything except a hawk circling briefly and some very lovely scenery.  The turtle pond is just completely frozen and covered, with just a few squirrel tracks.  Over to the maintenance shed, to check for the varied thrush.

As I was looking around another birder came over, we both wanted to see the thrush but it didn't happen. We did see this handsome flicker.  It looks like it has an extremely fancy throat, but that's just a twig that is lined up in exactly the right place.  :-)  Anyway the birder guy was more determined than I was, and I started to wander off, but I heard some really unusual sounds that I couldn't identify.  It sounded like..... well, like a kid mimicking a turkey gobble, but clearly not a kid, and animal, but clearly not a turkey gobbling.  I don't know what it was.

I came back and tried to see what was making those noises but couldn't find it. Then in swooped this hawk, grabbed a squirrel in a hole in the tree, but couldn't pull the squirrell out!  In this picture, the hawk has let go of the squirrel and landed ona  slightly lower branch and is looking at the hole.  The squirrel has moved around to my side of the tree, at the same level as the hole, and is feeling extremely lucky!

The hawk looks pissed.  But not for long, because.......

This other hawk swooped in and chased it off!  Hahahahahahaha, it's multi-hawk drama!  This hawk is smaller but maybe the green band gives it super-powers.  The hawks hung around for a few minutes, moving off a little bit, and then flew off one by one.  So far, I've been to check for the thrush 4 times, and 2 of those times, I've seen hawks!  And I still haven't seen the thrush.....  Oh well.

Heading through the ramble, I saw a quite cute chickadee playing hide and seek with my camera at azalea pond.  It won.  But the feeders made up for that, with this little guy!

Also at the feeders were a bunch of goldfinches, on or near their favorite feeder.

They apparently stick some gunk on a tree trunk and the woodpeckers love it!  First this downy came over to partake.

Then this red-belly chased her off quite unceremoniously, and took quite a hunk.

This white breasted nuthatch looked like it couldn't decide whether it wanted to pose or just flit about as usual.  Someday I'll get a good white breasted nuthatch picture!

After going in an accidental circle (I guess the snow threw me) I managed to get to the upper lobe bridge and see another gorgeous yellow-bellied sap sucker.  Are they really more vivid now, or was I just not good at seeing them last year?  And in the summer, was I seeing mostly juveniles?  I don't really quite understand what the difference is, but they look so gorgeous and vivid now.

I walked along the park road, and past sheep's meadow decided to try to see the red-headed woodpecker again.  I mean, I had 4 types of woodpeckers which normally would be a full house for the park, but since this guy is here, I decided to see if I could end up with five for five.  Alas, it was not to be.  I didn't hang out, really, I just walked through and kept on.  I headed for the 7th Ave exit and on the park road really close to 7th Ave saw another hawk!  I think this is the same guy I've been seeing at the pond.  Its chest is weird.

What a wonderful wintry walk!  :-)

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