Thursday, March 1, 2012

Hey, at least it's not raining!

Today was another AMNH winter walk and apparently we used up all of our good weather last week.  Ah well, at least it's not raining like it was yesterday!  The good news is, the walk was great and my rain boots are champions - 4 miles of city walking last night and who knows how far today, and they were totally fine.  Yay for good rain boots!  The bad news is, the light was terrible.  It wasn't raining, but it was ~almost~ raining the whole time.  Just a bit on the dismal side........

OK, yeah, anyway, on to what we actually saw.  Right away at the upper lobe we saw a whole bunch of northern shovelers, showing off their technique in a whirling mass on the water.  Also several were roosting on some branches, and this one intrepid couple came right over.
Northern Shovelers

Coots!  Hahaahahaha, every day is better with coots.  This is the best picture even though the coot is disappearing into the bridge.  They are hilarious to watch, it was great to see them up close.
American Coot
Into the ramble, where we saw lots of red-bellied woodpeckers, a few tufted titmouses, a few white-breasted nuthatches, house sparrows, and white-throated sparrows.  Here's one red-bellied woodpecker that we got to watch for a while - they are so pretty!
Red-bellied Woodpecker
This picture contains a white-breasted nuthatch.  Yes it does, look again!  :-)
White-breasted Nuthatch
Over to the feeders, which were pretty active.  Here's my favorite picture of house finches on the feeder.  It totally looks like there's a mirror and it's only one bird, or it's some sort of trick.  They are so in sync!
House Finch
This downy was extremely happy about this pine cone feeder.
Downy Woodpecker
Up past maintenance meadow and over to the area where the varied thrush was last year, and I found this fox sparrow.  My first time finding one myself!  I'm pretty sure I've seen them before when someone else pointed, but once I find a bird myself I really learn it in a different way.  They are so much more orange than I expected!
Fox Sparrow

Fox Sparrow
We went by turtle pond which had some lovely buffleheads.  We got to see them fly which was great, they look so little and frantic when they fly.  We tried to make them hooded mergansers but they stubbornly stayed buffleheads.  Then we headed back to the museum to try to see the hummingbird.  By the time we got there most of the people had peeled off, but those who stayed got a treat with the hummingbird.
Rufous Hummingbird
We were looking at it perched nearby and it flew over even closer to us, visiting these flowers.  A guy said, "Well, it can't get much closer than that!"  Of course the hummingbird took this as a challenge and came closer.  I said, "Say it again!" but repeating the phrase had no effect on the hummingbird.
Rufous Hummingbird
Then we turned around and the guy who charmed the hummingbird said, "Oh, that's why the blue jays are upset.  They are mobbing that red-tail."  And sure enough, there was a red-tailed hawk in the tree in the museum's courtyard.  As the other person from the walk said, "The smallest bird and the biggest bird - great finale!"
Red-tailed Hawk

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