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Friday, April 30, 2010

Birds Among the Flowers

It was a busy morning for the pair of Blue-gray gnatcatchers we caught building their nest at the edge of a small farm field.  The branch they chose is dying but hopefully still strong enough to hold their nest through summer winds.  Each bird kept watch on our group as it worked on construction. I've made the photos extra large so that you can see them better but also causing them to stretch beyond the right edge of my blog. Try to ignore the words printed over the edge.  This is a formatting glitch of Blogger. Maybe it will be fixed by the time you are reading this.
This Red-tail hawk delighted us as it circled overhead several times.  One of our Mountwood birders who had surveyed the road earlier had noticed a red-tail's nest just up the road.  We surmised that it might belong to this particular hawk. On each turn that tell-tail shone unmistakably red as it caught the sun.
Sure enough, a bit up the road was a nest that could have belonged to our hawk. The nest rested on a horizontal limb of a sycamore tree unlike most nests that are wedged into a forked tree trunk.  When we stopped a bit further up the road an agitated red-tail flew over us screaming and circling.  We thought it might be the same hawk since we were so close to the last sighting. Perhaps it was the first hawk's mate. Soon, a red-shouldered hawk flew over screaming its distinctive call, obviously disturbing the red-tail.
Yesterday I told you about the Louisiana waterthrush that hijacked our car as it escaped identification for about forty-five minutes. Four pair of binoculars proved to be too much as the bird finally became part of the day's life-list.
Our group left Newell's Run then drove back down along the Ohio River on our way back home.  We made just two more stops.  One for this  Great egret
and a last stop to view a Bald eagle that was flying overhead.  Susan, our driver quickly pulled her car to the shoulder as we piled out of the car, binoculars in hand. It was an immature male bale eagle. He did not yet have the distinctive white feathers on his head. As we watched the eagle disappear over the ridge we were joined by the Ohio Highway Patrol who actually just wanted to know if we needed any help.  The officer smiled and drove on once we pointed out the eagle.  She may be used to birdwatchers along her route as we were just up the river from an osprey nest. Without a scope, we chose to ignore the osprey nest.  It was time to go home and return to other responsibilities awaiting at home or elsewhere.

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