Thursday, February 7, 2013

AMNH Winter Walk

Today was the first Winter Walk with Paul, and it was pretty awesome!  I mean, it could have been more awesome if we had found the owl.  But with two kinds of hawks and all the rest that we saw, that's being just a bit picky, even for me.  :-)

On the way to the walk I checked for the great blue heron, who I did not see.  Hopefully it's at the pond feasting there, since those tourists broke up the ice for it.  I did however see two hawks flying together towards the south end of the lake, and later this one hunting near the ladies pavilion.

Red-tailed Hawk

Also nearby were some white-throated sparrows and cardinals foraging on the ground.  I love how these two look like they are hanging out in the office, chatting about who did what over the weekend.
Northern Cardinal, White-throated Sparrow

Then it was about time to join the group, and right away we saw this downy woodpecker.  They are so cute!
Downy Woodpecker

Another hawk, we saw it perched for a few minutes and then it soared nearby.  Hope it finds some lunch soon!  We did see one fairly spectacular dive, but it was aborted before it reached its intended target.
Red-tailed Hawk

Continuing with a series of great woodpecker sightings, we saw this red-bellied woodpecker.  We saw quite a few of these throughout the walk, especially towards the end.
Red-bellied Woodpecker

Song sparrow!  Someone in the group spotted it and shouted it out, and I think everyone got to see this little guy.
Song Sparrow

House finch!  This guy was just singing away, staying still in the branches.  Took a few minutes to find him!
House Finch

This is probably the female oriole that's been hanging out in the park, but we didn't get close enough to be at all certain.  Definitely and orange-ish tinge, definitely the right size, definitely something an oriole would do.  So, we might have seen her!
Mystery Bird

Chickadee!  .........there is really not much more to say.
Black-capped Chickadee 

What?  Another woodpecker?  Yes, among the downies and red-bellies there was this yellow-bellied sapsucker.  See the yellow belly?  It's there!  Yes it is.  Yes, that's yellow.  Okay, maybe not really a bright clear yellow, but yellow-ish.  Right?
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Cooper's Hawk!  I spotted this hawk though some branches, and Paul asked if I ever saw Cooper's hawks around, and I said no, not very often.  Then he looked and realized that this was in fact a Cooper's hawk!  Hahahahaha, so I guess once in a while I see them.....  We walked around to get a view from the front.
Cooper's Hawk

On to the reservoir in search of fancy ducks.  On the way we looked for the owl.  I looked and looked and all I could see was pine cones, none of them extra-large.  Aaauuuughghghghgh........ Oh well, hopefully I'll see the owl again another day.  Today, it was fancy ducks.  And boy did we find them! This pied-billed grebe was just close enough to make me hope I could get a good picture, and just far enough away to prevent a good picture.  Well played, grebe.
Pied-Billed Grebe 

This hooded merganser was nice and close, and possibly having a Bad Feather Day.  Hahahaha, mergansers are crazy!
Hooded Merganser

His lady friend looks nothing but elegant.
Hooded Merganser

Someone in the group noticed that this female merganser was bigger, and once he pointed it out to me I noticed that its face looked different too, so we called Paul over for a look.  Well it looks different because it's a different kind!  My first red-breasted merganser.  Yay!
Red-breasted Merganser

Further up the mud path that the reservoir jogging trail has become, we saw a nice group of wood ducks.  Five males (one is grumpy because his molting did not go as planned) and one female.  I suspect this scene is played out often: "Get away from my woman!"
Wood Ducks

That was about it for the group.  After breaking away and heading back home, I found this hawk hunting near the falconer statue.  It's probably one I already saw today, but of course I followed it anyway, and snapped away until I ran out of pictures.  A great way to end!  :-)
Red-tailed Hawk

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