Wednesday, December 8, 2010

California Bound

I actually got to go birding today--not chasing but birding. I woke up to a temp of 17 degrees but had planned to bird this morning with my friend Pam. I picked her up at 8:30 and we headed over to a local spot to see what was there. As soon as we got out of the car we had lots of birds hungrily looking for food--song sparrow, brown creeper, brown-headed nuthatch, and yellow-rumped warbler. Next we found a group of eastern bluebirds (top photo). Soon after we spied 2 river otters climb out of an ice hole and then scamper down the frozen-over New Hope Creek. I don't think I had ever seen river otters out of the water for that long of a period. Usually they duck under as soon as they see you.

We walked the area and by the time we started back out we had seen several red-headed woodpeckers plus northern flicker, yellow-bellied sapsucker, downy, red-bellied, and pileated woodpeckers. At one point a group of about 20 blackbirds flew into the top of a sweetgum tree. We were hoping they were rusties, but after glassing them it was apparent that they were all female red winged. A great blue heron was perched up on a dead tree preening in the sun.

We then went to a 2nd close by spot, and also had lots of bird activity with pretty much the same birds. Our 3rd stop was not as active but we did have a hairy woodpecker raising our woodpecker, et. al. species total to 7 which is the most I have seen in 1 day. Our final stop was back at Mason Farm where we had some new birds including winter wren, pine siskin, ruby crowned kinglet, brown thrasher, eastern towhee, fox sparrow and several white-throated sparrows (middle photo--remember to click on pic to enlarge it). On our way back to the car we flushed a cooper's hawk.

When I got back home I found a possum digging around under my feeders (bottom photo). It climbed up into a tree when I approached. It was quite colorful with its pink feet, nose and ends of its ears. After today's birding the week count of birds is at 67. It is now Wednesday evening and I am getting packed for an early flight tomorrow to CA to try for the shrike again. Stay tuned!

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