Saturday, January 26, 2013

Prospect Jan 26th, a gorgeous winter day and its moments

Most Prospect 's winters would not be what I call exceptional except for this year. With the added element of the winter finch irruption, whatever appearances by these special visitors add to typical offerings like raptors.A triple play of three raptor species along with appearance of WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS and PINE SISKINS made this cold day much more enjoyable.

Ryan Bass texted me upon entering the park from Bartel Pritchard Square  seeing 9 PINE SISKINS in a young Sweetgum sapling on the right side of the drive.Later, while up on Lookout Hill, along the perimeter of Butterfly Meadow, 3 WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS greeted him of which he was able to snap a photo of one. See his photo on the link after this post. Also seen was uncommon WINTER WREN up in that area.

ON my part when I entered the park with intentions of refilling the feeders while Rob Bate was away, I was happy seeing three raptor species today. The first of these three was pointed out to me and Ryan at the feeders by  Max, a COOPERS HAWK perched by the trail head that goes down the slope. Its the adult that  has been hanging out  for quite a while now , all settled in for the winter ( and that's good for us, but high anxiety for birds ); Ironically  as I was explaining to Max what sort of raptor it was , that it was an accipiter and what it eats and how it hunts , just as I was finishing the sentence that "it eats birds" the COOPERS abruptly took  off straight down after a Mourning Dove. I must be telepathic...

Second and third of the raptors occurred at the Nethermead,initially  as I watched a soaring , circling RED-TAILED HAWK. And when I turned around, perched above the cross slope pedestrian path , on Center Drive,  always my favorite, a MERLIN.This small falcon stayed perched for awhile that I observed it in my scope, the pretty bird bathed in winter light of the setting sun.

The Lake is totally frozen, except for a tiny waterhole by  the west shore, only about 25 feet wide, kept open by the constantly moving ducks and coots. It would be till Monday or Tuesday when temps warm up to 40's that we might see more open water. For now, only a small contingent of Gulls get my interest ,my hoping for that good one despite the drudgery of checking gulls

The feeders by the way  are active, 6 PINE SISKINS the best to watch along with the usual suspects, something to give thanks for regardless of midwinter doldrums.

A last mention that I thought was something to chirp about  , a HERMIT THRUSH on Breeze Hill atop the Cleft Ridge Span, the bird hanging out with a Robin. Of course, they are thrush cousins...  --KB

Ryan's Bass' photo of WWXbill --->>