As a conscious effort to do more local birding, on foot or bicycle, this year I started from home today and walked 9 miles of city streets. While many of the birds encountered today are typical feeder type/city birds, I got to build a winter base to my human powered bird list for 2008 and added a few species I didn't expect until the March/April time frame.
Plenty of these "guys" today
A nice flock of Pine Grosbeaks were near the Gardner veterans ice rink, this species continues to "show strong" in the area. A Northern Flicker, very uncommon in this area during the winter months, was an early addition to the local year list at Crystal Lake Cemetery.
Near Wickman Drive 25 Blue Jays appeared to be "stirred up" and "concerned", after walking a few more streets I saw the instigator, a Cooper's Hawk (below), perched in a Maple Tree. The other two "expected" city raptors put in appearances, a Sharp-shinned Hawk soaring over Rte 2A and a Red-tailed Hawk in the same general area.
Cooper's Hawk on Wasa Street
On my way toward the Gardner Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP), in hopes of some waterfowl, was a single female type Purple Finch (a fairly uncommon winter species), mixed in with House Finches. I was hoping the large flock of Common Redpolls, present on 12/23, would still be near the (WWTP), they were not. The warm effluent from the WWTP keeps this section of the Otter River open through the winter, but there was no waterfowl present, but a Belted Kingfisher was a nice replacement for expected Mallards.
I did manage to walk a few streets I had never been on, in 20 years of living in Gardner. After stopping in "Jumping Juice and Java" coffee shop, I returned home and found 2 White-breasted Nuthatches "Frozen still" in my yard. I took a few digi-bin photos then looked around for a raptor, but never found one. When I returned near the feeders, the two nuthatchs still hadn't moved, these birds held their "frozen" posture for over 5 minutes!
A "Frozen Nut"
American Tree Sparrow...8