Monday, March 14, 2011

Owls - 0. Kestrels - 1. Hawks - about 4?

Today I walked up the west side quickly, towards the tree that used to contain the two long-eared owls.  Sadly, the tree only contained a bunch of robins and blue jays today.  Yes, yes, they are very pretty birds.  But let's be honest - long-eared owls they are not!  Oh well.  A couple of other birders were there looking too, we were all disappointed not to see them.  Maybe they'll turn up in another tree, and I did some looking, but not seriously.  I had limited time, and there was more to explore!  :-)

As soon as I got over to the lake, I saw a hawk circling above.  And then another!  They were close together briefly, but they diverged pretty quickly.  I was watching through a veil of branches, so I didn't see any interaction, really.  It was definitely a pick-me-up after that empty owl tree!

Up to the upper lobe, nothing of note.  Actually not a lot not of note either.  Some mallards and geese on the water.  Some sparrows around, a few titmice (titmouses?) etc.  At the feeders, the goldfinches are looking somewhat motley.  Mid-molt birds are hilarious!

Heading from there over to the oven, at that little streamlet before the oven there was a lot of activity.  It was this idyllic woodland scene with lots of birds singing, splashing around, flitting about.  I stood enjoying that for a while.

This hairy woodpecker posed and gave me several different views.  I love the plus sign on the back of their heads!

This titmouse stayed uncharacteristically still long enough for a picture.

This house finch knew I was looking at it.  It didn't stay in one place for long.

As I was leaving the area, this fox sparrow jumped up on a log and looked at me, posed for my camera for a bit, and then hopped off with a coy backward glance.

Not a lot going on at the oven - it was all at the little streamlet!  So, over to see if Pale Male and his new girlfriend are making hawklets today.  I didn't have much time, so I didn't have much hope.  But while I was there I did see both of them fly in, and perch, one on the nest, the other on a nearby building's window rail.

Then after a couple of minutes the one on the nest took off, the perched one stayed there until I left a few moments later.  It was great to see them!

From there I headed down to the Carousel to see if the woodpecker was feeling social.  I did not see the woodpecker, but I did see some squirrels flirting.  And then a kestrel flew in!  Here it is from the back.

And from the side.

And again.  Yes, I'm quite excited, it's my first real kestrel sighting!  :-)

From there, down to the pond where I did see and hear a Carolina wren but was too slow to get a picture.  But then a hawk was flying over, which was quite consoling indeed!  And then another one!

They both landed on the plaza, and then I lost one while I was watching the other one perched.  After a couple of minutes they were both flying overhead again, and then one landed on the plaza again.  At least one of them looked like an adult red-tailed hawk (it showed me its tail as it flew).  I hope they nest here, that would be so wonderful!  It was quite a nice ending to my walk.

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