Saturday, April 25, 2009

Week Update

Ah, so I tend to get behind during the week. This is due to working 9.5 hours Mon-Thurs and 4 hours on Fri and having no motivation during those Fridays. Not good!

Weird week for birds. As you see below, the weather on Monday wasn't great. The weather for the rest of the week wasn't, but that's fine. Things are definitely changing along with the warmer weather. I'm seeing a lot of birds moving back in that went on vacation for the winter or at least deeper into the woods. Hooray for spring!

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Wednesday was overcast and about 60 degrees F. I couldn't bird because I was having a leadership volunteer orientation but I still observed. I was blown away by the sheer noise that morning at the West Fort Ann house as it sounded like 30-50 American Goldfinches had migrated in nearby. I really have no idea what went on, but those birds had been missing all winter and suddenly there's a few at the feeders.

I reached the Wilton Wildlife Preserve office around 10:20 AM and noted 4 Pine Warblers and 1 Northern Cardinal. I believe that's the first cardinal I've heard/seen here since before winter. In fact, my adventures today showed that they also are coming back in numbers now. I heard yet another at 3:15 PM when I arrived at AngioDynamics in Queensbury.

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Thursday weather was awful, at least where wind was concerned, as there were fairly consistent gusts to 20 mph. In fact, despite the temperature was 51*F, it felt more like 35. I birded from indoors that day. At the West Fort Ann house, I have my own personal feeder in my window. On Thursday I had 1 White-breasted Nuthatch, 2 Black-capped Chickadees (I chuckled to see a seed between the feet of one as it tried pecking it open), 1 Blue Jay who nearly fell off, and 1 Pine Siskin. Two American Robins nearby got into quite the fight.

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Friday was nicer, but cooler. No wind, sunny, and 46*F. There was quite a bit of early morning activity at the West Fort Ann house, including 2 Tufted Titmice and a Chipping Sparrow which at first looked like a Redpoll (yes, I got excited for that minute), and 2 Common Grackles - an adult and a sooty all-brown juvenile at the feeders. While most people dislike Grackles at feeders, they were a sight to see. I think Grackles are pretty, and the solid chocolate-brown juv was stunning. Also nearby was a Blue Jay (possibly the one from Thursday?). The Grackles were in a feeding flock with 4 American Goldfinches, 3 Pine Siskins, and 1 White-breasted Nuthatch.

I also was standing outside at 5:30 PM with no intention of bird watching when two hawks appeared overhead, circling. They absolutely took my breath away. I was also quite annoyed at myself for having no bins, and my raptor ID abilities are terrible, so they are unidentified. Having viewed quite a few Red-tailed Hawks in my time, I'm sure they weren't more. They were both smaller than a Red-tailed, appeared to have thick black bars on their short fan-shaped tails, were very white with reddish or brown nicely patterned spots/speckles on the underside, and one kept calling a mournful, soft, clear, high-pitched "keeeeeey-errrrr."

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