Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Still finding new birds!!!

These photos illustrate two phenomena which started off our week... The snow is one, but the other is that I had to use the flash at 4:45 in the afternoon to make a decent photo - we've gone back to standard time.

Pretty horrible photos, but the snow was almost gone by the time I got my camera out at the end of the day - and I tried to include a little autumn color as well

So the new bird for the week - very exciting to have another of those infrequent "winter finches" on campus. A couple of Purple Finches made an appearance yesterday afternoon (Thursday) while Lynn was out at lunchtime. We like to think it's serendipity - she was out... they appeared.

When you think about it, 136 acres, one person out birding, it's almost needle-in-a-haystack - except that we increase our chances by looking in the right habitat. Lynn was watching a little flock of House Finches in the brambles along our building and noticed a different-sounding and more richly-colored male fly overhead.

She immediately thought - purple finch? I'll have to listen to the calls when I'm back at the computer... well, a few minutes later she found a group of easily recognized females. That clinched it - species number 102 for West Campus.

Birds for the week!
Wild Turkey
Canada Goose
Herring Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Red-tailed Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Downy Woodpecker
Monk Parakeet

Blue Jay
American Crow
European Starling
American Robin
Cedar Waxwing
Northern Mockingbird
Black-capped Chickadee
Brown Creeper
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Song Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
American Goldfinch
House Finch
Purple Finch - Carpodacus purpureus
Common Grackle
House Sparrow

Twenty seven species for the week - not too shabby considering we were on the other campus half of the week.

Breaking news! - this just in! - a fourth grade class was out on campus Friday afternoon, for a Peabody Museum educational program - and while out on a Hawk Watch saw seven raptors, comprising four species. They added two new species to this week's list:

Sharp-shinned Hawk, Accipiter striatus
Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus

Taking a quick look at our West Campus list - I see that we have another new species for campus! - the Peregrine Falcon seen by the students and their leader Tom. Lynn and I haven't seen it definitively yet - so it goes on our short list of "seen by Tom but not by Sue and Lynn"!

This brief video illustrates why it's difficult to hear bird calls in certain parts of West Campus...

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