Weekend Wrap Up, 1/10/16

~The highlight of the day for me - Merlin with prey at Piermont Pier, 1/9/16.~
~The highlight of the day for me – Merlin with prey at Piermont Pier, 1/9/16.~

Before I get to the wrap up, I wanted to mention that I created a new page for 2016 where I will post photos by species. Each time I take a photo that consider an improvement on the previous for any species, I will replace it on the list. As a starting point, I’ve typed out the list from the Edgar A. Mearns Bird Club Checklist of Birds for Orange County. As I was typing it out, I realized how daunting it can be to think about getting all these photos – there are over 265 birds on the list! It will be interesting to me to see how many of these I will get and also how many I might add to the list. Click here to check it out or on the page at the top right called Species Photos 2016.

The weekend started on a good note with a Friday evening trip to the Black Dirt where I was able to relocate the dark-morph Western Red-tailed Hawk, originally located by Steve Sachs the day before and relocated in the morning by Linda Scrima. Due to the distance and the trees, I was unable to get any photos, but Linda got some and gave me a couple to post here, see them below (thanks Linda!). It was a sort of strange experience seeing that bird – it was vocalizing constantly and moving from perch to perch to perch, never staying in one place for very long.

~Beautiful bird - dark-morph Western Red-tailed Hawk in the Black Dirt, 1/8/16. Photo by Linda Scrima.
~Beautiful bird – dark-morph Western Red-tailed Hawk in the Black Dirt, 1/8/16. Photo by Linda Scrima.~
I really like this shot, showing the top side of the bird including the red tail. Dark-morph Western Red-tailed Hawk, Black Dirt 1/8/16.~
I really like this shot, showing the top side of the bird including the red tail. Dark-morph Western Red-tailed Hawk, Black Dirt 1/8/16. Photo by Linda Scrima.~

On Saturday, Kyle Dudgeon, Linda Scrima, and I headed to Piermont Pier to try for the WESTERN GREBE. The bird was located by some other birders shortly after our arrival; it was a little far out and backlit but we got decent scope views and Kyle and Linda got their lifer WEGRs. I was hoping for more waterfowl, but really we did not have a large list: Canada Goose, Mallard, Canvasback, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Ruddy Duck, and Double-crested Cormorant. We had some Buffleheads and Ruddies that were close enough for photos but the light was not very good. The highlight for me was a Merlin, perched in a tree and eating prey (which looked to be a Dark-eyed Junco). On our way home we made a stop at State Line Hawkwatch, but it was a bust as we had only two distant Red-tailed Hawks in the half hour we were there.

~This is not a pretty bird, but it is pretty cool. Black Vulture in Blooming Grove, NY 1/10/16.~
~This is not a pretty bird, but it IS pretty cool. Black Vulture in Blooming Grove, NY 1/10/16.~

On Sunday morning I met Maria Loukeris out in the Black Dirt, we tried unsuccessfully to relocate the dark-morph Western Red-tailed Hawk. We did, however, see my first ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK of 2016, hunting (successfully) over a distant field. This is only the second RLHA that I have seen this season. In a relatively short amount of time we had a good number of raptors: Maria had an American Kestrel before my arrival, and in addition to the RLHA we had 8 Red-tailed Hawks and a Sharp-shinned Hawk. From there I checked Glenmere and Tomahawk Lakes but neither had much waterfowl present; in fact Tomahawk was mostly frozen over, but I managed to see a high-flying Bald Eagle which was nice.

~Fish Crow at Piermont Pier, 1/9/16.~
~Fish Crow at Piermont Pier, 1/9/16.~
~The Merlin made quick work of that poor junco. Piermont Pier, 1/9/16.~
~The Merlin made quick work of that poor junco. Piermont Pier, 1/9/16.~
~Don't mess with these two, they look like they are in a mood. Ring-billed Gulls at Piermont Pier 1/9/16.~
~Don’t mess with these two, they look like they are in a mood. Ring-billed Gulls at Piermont Pier 1/9/16.~
Canvasbacks all tucked in, Piermont Pier 1/9/16.~
Canvasbacks all tucked in, Piermont Pier 1/9/16.~

6 thoughts on “Weekend Wrap Up, 1/10/16”

  1. Hey, now, no anthropomorphism! Merlin’s gotta eat. Besides, we’re all food for something in the end. Happy new year!

    1. Happy New Year Marianne! I’m all for that Merlin eating, but it doesn’t change the fact that is an unfortunate junco! Made my day to see this unfold! Matt

    1. Thanks so much Liza, the Merlin was a lucky treat. My favorite from the post is the Black Vulture, that shot make me happy. Matt

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