Thanksgiving Weekend 2015

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~American Coot at the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge, Liberty Loop 11/29/15.~

This afternoon, upon my arrival home after a fun but busy Thanksgiving weekend up in Syracuse, I headed out to do some birding and enjoy the beautiful weather. I was undecided on where to go, but excited to get out locally. I tooled around the black dirt to see what I could find; it was a birdy ride, and I hit many of my usual spots and I eventually made my way out to the Camel Farm, where I ran into Karen Miller. We caught up, trading Thanksgiving stories and we sorted through the nearly 1200 Canada Geese that were present. A Red-tailed Hawk flew right over us, calling the whole time. We did not locate anything different among the Canada Geese, and I kept moving eventually making brief stops at the Wallkill River NWR’s Winding Waters Trail and Liberty Loop. I was happy to find over a dozen American Coots in front of the viewing platform at the Liberty Loop, in very nice light so I took some photos. For the afternoon I had a total of 29 species, I’ll include my list below.

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~A Red-tailed Hawk flyover at the Camel Farm, 11/29/15.~ 
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~I like the look on the the face of this Northern Cardinal, she does not seem entirely pleased. Black Dirt Region, 11/29/15.~

Black Dirt Region 11/29/15:

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~Downy Woodpecker at Wallkill River NWR, Winding Waters Trail, 11/29/15.~

Canada Goose
Mallard
Great Blue Heron
Northern Harrier
Red-tailed Hawk
American Coot
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Blue Jay
American Crow
Horned Lark
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
European Starling
American Tree Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
White-throated Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
House Sparrow

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~Two more cute coots at Wallkill River NWR, Liberty Loop, 11/29/15.~

Meanwhile, on Saturday morning, my brother-in-law Bill and I went out to one of my favorite birding spots – Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. It was a terrible day for photos and tough for viewing distant birds as it was very gray and dark all day long. The refuge was loaded with waterfowl and we had 17 different types of water birds: Canada Geese, Tundra Swan, Gadwall, American Wigeon, American Black Duck, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, Pied-billed Grebe, and American Coot! We did not get a large number of raptor species, but we had plenty of individuals, with several Northern Harriers and over a half a dozen of both Bald Eagles and Red-tailed Hawks. As I mentioned, it was a tough day for photos, but here are a few shots from the morning:

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~Red-tailed Hawk at Montezuma NWR, 11/28/15.~
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~It was exciting to get close up looks at this young Bald Eagle, unfortunately it was tough light to photograph. Montezuma NWR, 11/28/15.~
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~A nice look at a Northern Shoveler at Montezuma NWR, 11/28/15.~

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