I have been unable to "go birding" (as they say) this week but my drives to and from work have brought me some treasures. It has been unseasonably warm this week (apparently reaching nearly 60 degrees Fahrenheit - odd though that customers shamed me all day for not being able to get outside in the warmth considering that they should be ashamed of themselves for not hiking as much as I did in the heat all summer and saw many wonderful things), bringing out flocks of birds in droves, beautifully noisy ones. On one barely exciting evening drive home, I was met with a surprise flock of about 200 blackbirds making as much noise as they possibly could. They were not identifiable as they were moving very quickly and I suspected they were carrying some friendly species with them rather than being a monospecies group.
House sparrows are extremely abundant in Hudson Falls and are of course fat and noisy like human children who have lived on nothing but McDonalds. Funny how I would find the children quite annoying but the sparrows lively and fun.
My favorite sightings this week are the large gatherings of Canada geese and ring-billed gulls at the mowed cornfield by Adirondack Community College. I drive past at a specific time each morning and evening but I suspect you could drive by there at any time and see them. I usually count about a hundred geese, and one day saw about 60 gulls nearby. I find it interesting that geese-haters speak of the large grouping as if the individuals were merely a bunch of random hoodlums who got together to form this evil geese-gang...if you look more closely, you can see that the large group is broken into many smaller ones. These are family units. Now that you know this, you will never be able to look at a couple hundred geese the same again, not as a large random gathering.
People also seem to hate seeming them for they are apparently a signal to many that winter is soon upon us. To me they are a calming sight...if you remember, about a month ago I was worried that the oncoming colder weather and fall migration would bring us very few birds to enjoy for the winter. I'm absolutely pleased to see such plump, large, subtly-colored icons of autumn in enormous numbers, not to mention the gentle onslaught of white-throated sparrows and dark-eyed juncos recently.
I cross my fingers for hopefully another winter with a few surprise irruptions...