I love these cold, crisp, sunny days. Especially after a long work week with absolutely no birding – it just feels good to be out and about. This morning it was cold enough for me to stick primarily to car birding, so I drove around the black dirt. I made an effort to explore some areas that are a bit off my personal beaten path; it gave me a little bit of sense of exploration even though I was close to home. It was an enjoyable morning with pretty much the usuals. There is still a large flock of Snow Geese in the area – these days they are on the south end of the black dirt, close to the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge. I found several flocks of Horned Larks but no flocks of Snow Buntings. Sifting through the larks, I was able to find a couple of Lapland Longspurs and a couple of Snow Buntings.
I also had several large flocks of blackbirds. These flocks were probably 99% Common Grackles, with just a smattering of Red-winged Blackbirds, Brown-headed Cowbirds, and European Starlings among them. At one point I caught a flash of white in a flying flock – my immediate thought was Yellow-headed Blackbird. I eventually relocated the bird and it was a Common Grackle with several white tail feathers and white at the back of the head. It was a cool looking bird, and it got my heart racing for a minute. Unfortunately the bird did not cooperate for any decent photos.
5 thoughts on “Arctic Blast Black Dirt Birding, 02/04/23”
Great pics! Been diggin’ your photos.
(Had to laugh at “cold, crisp, sunny days,” though, as here on the coast of Maine, it was definitely all those things—if “cold” means a high temperature of about 7° today, with some pretty stout winds (and few birds).)
Thanks so much Brian. It was actually pretty darn cold here today; when I started this morning it was -1 degree Fahrenheit. I think it eventually warmed up to the mid teens this afternoon. With the wind, it kept me in the car for the most part. Matt
Which makes your bird pics even more impressive! (Did you hear the Steller’s Sea Eagle has made an appearance back in Maine?)
I did see that! Pretty exciting stuff. Will you try for it?
I’m not much of a twitcher—but maybe!
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