Thursday, February 17, 2011

Third AMNH winter walk with Paul

Another Thursday, another winter walk!  Today's was particularly wonderful.

On the way up, I stopped by Cherry Hill to see if the owls were there - no joy.  Oh well, it was worth a shot!  I'm so happy I got to see them while they were around.  During my search I did find a raccoon, curled up asleep, basically a fur-ball in the tree.

After meeting the group, and coming along the inlet road towards the main park road, I spotted a red-tailed hawk on a nearby tree while Paul had his back to it, telling the group the plan.  We all went around for a much better look, it was really quite beautiful.

A squirrel was frozen a few feet away, making its alarm call repeatedly.

I think it was right to be alarmed!

From there, we went down to the open water on the lake, and had great looks at northern shovelers.  I love, love, love their beaks!  It's another duck that looks like a cartoon.

Down to Cherry Hill, just, you know, in case...... this is one time I would ~love~ to be wrong, but we still couldn't find them.

To the ramble!  making our way to the feeders, we stopped at a likely spot and after a few moments saw this fox sparrow, hanging out with a female cardinal.  Actually there were three female cardinals up there with him - way to go, fox sparrow!  Is it just me, or does the fox sparrow look tired?

We also saw 2 or 3 female red-winged blackbirds.  They are so beautiful and intricate, and the closer you look the more lovely they get.

From there, over to the feeders, where it was quiet at first but the activity soon picked up.  First was this yellow-bellied sap sucker, pecking away.  It's not a great picture, but you can definitely see that the belly is yellow.  Well, yellow-ish, anyway.

This brown creeper was creeping up the tree.  I really thought I was finally going to have a good picture of a brown creeper, but even in silhouette it defeats auto-focus!  This bird is amazing!

This white-breasted nuthatch came right over, showing off its best nuthatch stances.

This red-breasted nuthatch watched and then showed off in its own way, taking a ride around the spinny feeder.

The house finch stole my attention for quite some time, almost making me miss......

..... this pine siskin!

While there, Paul talked to some folks who told him the secret location of another owl.  Off we went, optimistic and energetic!

They did not lie.

Owls are special.

From there, over to the varied thrush, who did show off a bit for us, and was a great finish to the walk!

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