Sunday, November 12, 2006

Two Hawks, One Fox, and 19 Types of Birds in Two Hours

Overcast, rainy, winds gusts to 25 knots, daylight high temperature of barely more than 50 degrees. In short, a raw November day. And yet, there was more action in the Colvin Run Habitat today than on any warm, sunny day.

Things started by surprise. I walked out onto the back porch, only to observe not one, but two Red-trailed Hawks hunting. One of the hawks was momentarily on the ground; that quick he was airborne with something in its talons – from the victim’s size and tail hanging down, I am guessing a chipmunk. The second hawk stayed airborne and rose from about 10 feet to about 30 feet off of the ground. As the second hawk got above the trees, I took the first photograph. As you can see, I only captured its silhouette due to the extremely poor photograph weather.

Both hawks were quickly out of sight; I figured that they were gone for the day. But, within the hour they were both back, circling above the Habitat, which is when I got this second photograph. Later, one by one, they returned several times. They were very active just above the tree tops, and also flying through the Habitat below the tree level.

The Habitat sees many different types of birds during the year. However, in the two hour period that begun with the arrival of the red-tailed hawks, 19 different types of birds were observed (listed here from largest to smallest):
1. Red-tailed hawk
2. Turkey vulture
3. Crow
4. Blue jay
5. Red-bellied woodpecker
6. Mockingbird
7. Starling
8. Cardinal
9. Robin
10. Downy woodpecker
11. Nuthatch
12. Titmice
13. Dark-eyed junco
14. House finch
15. Savannah sparrow
16. White-throated sparrow
17. Wren
18. Goldfinch
19. Chickadee
This is an amazing collection. At times I needed to write down what I was seeing before I forgot. I photographed a number of these birds – I’ll share the photos later.

There were clearly some flocks of different types of birds that came through the Habitat during this two-hour period. In the third photo, you can see a flock of starlings. At the same time that the starlings were observed, robins and mockingbirds were also observed – both are unusual in the Habitat at this time of year.

As normal, the ground was full of chipmunks and squirrels. And not to be left out, and as shown in the last photo, the fox showed up late in the afternoon and took his normal observation seat in the brush. He watched the squirrels a bit, looked around a lot, but within 30 minutes he decided to leave; I can only assume he was looking for a place out of the rain.

What a truly amazing day! Posted by Picasa

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