I had the day off from work today, so I decided to try and take advantage of it by going for the Sandhill Cranes that had been reported on eBird over the last few days. As I pulled up to the area where the birds have been seen, they were flying overhead. I jumped out of the car and managed to get a few shots.
I wasn’t sure if this was good luck or bad luck! I was happy to have gotten the birds, but they were heading north in a very determined fashion. I looked at the map for a moment and then drove around in hopes of relocating the cranes. I didn’t have any luck with that, so I headed over to River Road to look for Bald Eagles. Deborah Tracy-Kral had informed me that there was a deer carcass on the ice that the eagles were enjoying. When I arrived there was one adult Bald Eagle and two American Crows on the now bare carcass. The eagle did not stick around for long and with not much left of the deer, I left it to the crows. I drove up and down River Road, just to check it out and then headed back to try for the cranes again. On my way over I came across this Cooper’s Hawk:
I drove around for a little while and I was pleasantly surprised when I relocated the two Sandhill Cranes. They were in a small creek and could be seen easily from the road, though they were partially obscured by twigs and branches. The crane on the right only lifted its head one time while I was there:
I was thrilled to see these birds and get some photos too. I left the cranes and headed to more familiar territory. I stopped by Lippincott Road to see if the Common Goldeneyes were still present but I did not locate them. Several Ring-billed Gulls and 4 Common Mergansers were the standouts. From there I headed to the Shawangunk Grasslands. It was a bit early in the afternoon, so I figured I would not get the Short-eared Owls, but I was curious to see what was flying there. It was very cold and windy but I enjoyed seeing some decent birds, here’s my list for the grasslands:
I ended my day by doing some more local birding, heading over to New Hampton, NY. While I was there looking at a large collection of Canada Geese in the Wallkill River, I met some of the folks that live on the river. They were interested in birds too, although the Canada Geese could be a bit loud at times. They invited me into their backyard to get some photos, which I thought was very nice of them and I totally appreciate it.
On my way back to the car I met yet another neighbor that had an interest in birds (and has since visited this blog and commented!). She told me how often they see Bald Eagles, and moments after leaving them, this bird flew overhead:
What a great day of birding! Many good birds and plenty of photo opportunities as well!