Monday, February 1, 2010

Had to get out!

The temperature rose from maybe 15 at dawn to close to 30 at lunchtime, so I headed out with binoculars to see what I could see. A Red-tailed Hawk with chocolate-brown tail flushed from the edge of campus and took off for a distant neighborhood, landing in the upper branches of a large yard-tree. After fluffing its feathers, it settled to its perch, well away from the bipedal intruder.

Way out over Long Island Sound I spied a Turkey Vulture soaring on tilting wings, along with a couple of gulls. Ring-billed Gulls were over campus, as well as a first-year likely Herring Gull. I scanned our resident flock of Canada Geese to count them, and see if they harbored any Cackling Geese - looked like 120 Canadas and nothing else.

A small flock of European Starlings and a couple of American Crows flew overhead, and I flushed one American Robin and a female Northern Cardinal as I walked the brushy edges along the back side of the B buildings. Rounding the front of A-21 again, another Red-tailed Hawk flew off, this one with bright rufous tail - do we have a pair??

At the courtyard birdfeeders, we have two Black-capped Chickadees, at least five Dark-eyed Juncos, our regular Song Sparrow and a pair of Northern Cardinals. Last week one of our Mourning Doves was killed in a window-strike, bringing our little flock down from eight to seven - and they have been scarce since that unfortunate event.

Sunset today outside A-21 on the highway side, 4:40pm.

The days have been extremely cold since Friday, with early mornings in the single digits, and bitter winds much of the time. Before that we had a stretch of very warm days - but so goes January - a classic late January thaw, and now back to winter!

It was good to get out again, on a bright blue-sky day, fill my lungs with cool air.

Canada Goose, Branta canadensis - 120
Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura -1
Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis -2
Ring-billed Gull, Larus delawarensis -3
Herring Gull, Larus argentatus -1
American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos -4
European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris -6
Northern Cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis - 2 or 3
American Robin, Turdus migratorius - 1
Dark-eyed Junco, Junco hyemalis - 5
Black-capped Chickadee, Poecile atricapillus - 2
Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia - 1

Bamboo thicket in front of A-21 where the Juncos roost.

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