Friday, January 4, 2008

Eastern Screech Owl and Pine Grosbeaks - 01/04

Kumlien's Iceland Gull (center).

Winter Sunset at the Power Canal, Turner's Falls. January '08.

After two very cold days (and nights), today's afternoon high rose to a balmy 25 degrees or so, warm enough for a short but productive spin up to Turner's Falls. Barton Cove was surprisingly devoid of gulls, but again 4 Pine Grosbeaks fed unconcerned on Crab Apples at close range in Unity Park. Down the road, good portions of the open areas on the power canal were frozen and this is where most of the gulls could be found resting. Less that two hundred birds were present but included two Glaucous and one Kumlien's Iceland Gull. All were first-cycle birds.

A female Red-breasted Merganser was bigger surprise, feeding alone the whole time and not willing to join the assembled Common Mergansers. This pictured Screech Owl made an appearance well before the sunset but soon retreated when a flock of mobbing chickadees forced it back into its cavity in a dead White Pine.

Other notable birds today included more Pine Grosbeaks around Amherst with 4 on North Whitney Street and 3 on Strong Street near Wildwood cemetery, along with singles of Carolina Wren and Pine Siskin. This Sharp-shinned Hawk (my first of the New Year) was digiscoped from the apartment today as well.

Sharp-shinned Hawk - juv/first winter.



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