6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary

I certainly heard this Carolina Wren before I saw it. 6 12/ Station Road 2-22-13.
I certainly heard this Carolina Wren before I saw it. 6 12/ Station Road 2-22-13.

I think it might be time to change my expectations of 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary. I’m not exactly sure why, but when I go there I am never expecting to see very many birds. Maybe it’s because it is the birding spot closest to home and I get out there pretty often. It is true that there have been many days when I have had hardly any birds, but there are also many days when there are numerous of birds to be seen, and some of them are unexpected.

I made a quick stop at the sanctuary yesterday after work. It was a gray dull day; it snowed for most of the time I was out there. It was not a very good day for photographs, none of the photos in this post are any good with maybe the exception of the Carolina Wren but I did want to document the day. Here is my species list from the forty-five minute stop:

Canada Goose  3
Mallard  11
Hooded Merganser  2
Northern Harrier  3
Red-tailed Hawk  4
Ring-billed Gull  1
Belted Kingfisher  1
Peregrine Falcon  1
American Crow  X
Black-capped Chickadee  3
Carolina Wren  1
European Starling  X
Song Sparrow  3
Red-winged Blackbird  20

I really wasn’t expecting to see any ducks, but there was some open water on the sanctuary side of the Heritage Trail where I found eleven Mallards and an unexpected bonus of two male Hooded Mergansers:

These two were a pleasant surprise. Hooded Mergansers out at 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary 2-22-13.
These two were a pleasant surprise. Hooded Mergansers out at 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary 2-22-13.
Three of the eleven Mallards out at the sanctuary, 2-22-13.
Three of the eleven Mallards out at the sanctuary, 2-22-13.

I had my first of season Red-winged Blackbirds; I guess spring will being coming this year after all:

Red-winged Blackbirds take flight. 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary 2-22-13.
Red-winged Blackbirds take flight. 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary 2-22-13.

As far as raptors go, Red-tailed Hawks are nearly always present at the sanctuary, but I don’t normally see much else. On this day I had three Northern Harriers, one of which was an adult male “Gray Ghost”. Two years ago NOHA were regulars hunting at the sanctuary but I have not seen many this year. The male was flying low and hunting while the other two where soaring up high. All three eventually headed northeast of the sanctuary. Finally, on my way out I saw this Peregrine Falcon fly by with what looked like a Mourning Dove. I been visiting the sanctuary for just over two years – I checked on eBird, and this is my first record of a Peregrine Falcon at 6 1/2 Station Road.

Here's a terrible photo of what was fascinating to watch - a Peregrine Falcon hauls its prey across the sanctuary, 2-22-13.
Here’s a terrible photo of what was fascinating to watch – a Peregrine Falcon hauls its prey across the sanctuary, 2-22-13.

Here is a list of some of the more memorable birds that I have seen out at 6 1/2 Station Road Sanctuary in the past couple of years:

Greater White-fronted Geese

Snow Geese

Common Loon

Bald Eagle

Peregrine Falcon

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

In 2011 I recorded observing 50 species in 25 visits to the sanctuary. In 2012 I had 87 species in 27 visits. I am curious to see how I do in 2013, I would certainly like to increase my recorded visits and, of course, my number of species.

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