Friday, February 11, 2011

Winter Walk #2 with Paul's group

Well the weather turned bitter cold again just in time for our second winter walk.  Hello, layers!  :-)  I tricked myself out, wearing as many clothes as somewhat reasonable, toasty toes, and loading up pockets instead of carrying a bag.  By the time I made it outside I was already sort of hot, but that didn't last.

I headed up to the pond to check on the situation there.  It was great!  One wood duck, and the hawk hiding behind quite a screen of branches.  I didn't have much time to make it up to the meeting place, so I took off without really looking for the other wood duck.  I walked across the path south of sheep's meadow but didn't see the red-headed woodpecker - but then again, I didn't even slow down, I was pretty much just booking it.

At the little open water on the lake there was one motlely-looking northern shoveler, a male, no females and none of the gorgeous males that were there a couple of days ago.  Also no hawk.  Oh well!

Met the group, and Paul decided to try for the thrush again, since we had some new people with us, instead of heading all the way down to the pond.  We went by and visited the shoveler, who was tucked in and quite inconspicuous.  We also saw a song sparrow there,  in the hordes of house sparrows and white-throated sparrows.

Up to the feeders, where there was quite a bit of activity.  There was again a creeper on the tree trunk, enjoying the mystery substance smeared on.

Someone spotted this brown-headed cowbird, which Paul recognized right away but I doubted until it came out into the sun and posed for me.  I really want to throw him in an FMRI and test his brain.  I wonder if there's a neurology student out there who loves nature and needs a project.....

Anyway, the goldfinches were at or near their feeder, looking..... well, lovely, but not as lovely as they will be in the summer!

This white breasted nuthatch came over and showed off its beak.  There's something about the shape of their beaks that reminds me of a certain kind of freighter ship.

This read-breasted nuthatch came by briefly, it was great to see one!  I have not seen many of these this winter.

There were of course tufted titmice (titmouses?) everywhere, and many black-capped chickadees.  However they did not pose.

Then we headed up to the thrush, who delighted us once again by coming out and giving us a great view!

Someone posted that one side was more vivid than the other, but I don't see much of a difference.  I wonder if their eyes are too optimistic, or my eyes are too inexperienced to see the difference.

We went from there up to the castle and then the reservoir, just to check things out, and saw a few woodpeckers and robins and not much else.  A couple of male red-wing blackbirds, so the ladies we saw last week are finally getting some good company.  The reservoir was almost completely frozen over, just a teeny patch of open water by the fountain.  A few gulls, really not many.

Heading back down towards the museum and trying to talk Paul and Roberto into setting up lunchtime spring walks, we saw this hawk off to the left in the trees across some grass.  Probably an immature Cooper's hawk.  Paul was happy I found a hawk, but really wanted a red-tail.  So............

..... a block or two later I saw this red-tail off to the right!  Hahahahaha, then he asked for falcons, but I failed to deliver on those.  :-)

Then it was time to part, and head back down towards my eye exam.  On the way I stopped by to see if the shoveler was still tucked in, and there was some lady feeding the ducks, so there was just this huge mass of mallards, and the shoveler was swimming at the back of the mallard swarm.

And right above them was perched this (extremely optimistic) hawk!  I wonder if it's the same one I saw here last week after leaving the group.  I would guess that it is.

I love hawk season!

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