Snowy Owl on a pile of Rail Road ties
I got back in the car and repositioned the vehicle so I could enjoy the bird from inside, better for both the owl and me. While watching the owl I noticed a flock of waterfowl, in flight, about 400 yards out and one stuck out as being different, either a drake Common Merganser or Northern Pintail. I watched the owl another few minutes as it sat tight and I decided to see if I could find those ducks.
After driving North River Road on of all places... the north side of the river, I decided to walk some conservation land with trails along the river. Many robins , some starlings and a few Cedar Waxwings were feeding on bittersweet along the river. After crossing a few foot bridges I was along a stream and noticed some movement in the water...there was a drake Northern Pintail, which immediately flushed and moved on, there was also a some of the Mallards and an Amercian Black Duck.
The Snowy was on a nearby roof top later in the afternoon, before it flew off and perch upon a dirt pile several hundred yards away.
A bit further on the trail I heard the call notes of a Winter Wren and got a 1/2 decent look at it too, but not good enough for a photo.
The Sharp-shinned Hawk below chased some of the many robins and missed them all and proceeded to perch in a birch tree. It sat tight and I got the photo below.
I had not noticed there was a some Bittersweet below the Sharp-shinned, nor did I see the American Robin, that perhaps had frozen still when the hawk perched above it. But, the "shin" had and when I tried to get a better photo of the hawk, it flew toward me, did a "180" back into the thicket and nailed the robin. I could hear the robin's last calls as it was carried off, the "shin" finished off the robin on the snow before moving into the pine grove with its meal.
There was lots of Oriental Bittersweet, along the Souhegan River, which attrached the robin which attrached the hawk.
An American Robin, well....what was left after it "flew off".... attached to the above Sharp-shinned Hawk....to an uplanned dinner.
Another nice surprise was a Great Blue Heron that flushed from the stream. That pintail made another close pass, while watching it I was able to pickup a small group of 4 White-winged Crossbills, in flight and calling.
American Goldfinches, note the one to the right (reaching down to feed on a seed head) was a "white-capped" bird, having white were the normal black forhead would be in their alternate (breeding) plumage.
Besides having some nice birds, I had the good fortune to bump into some nice folks, including Jerry Coffee and Scott Spangenberg.
The complete bird list from the day:
American Black Duck....1
Great Blue Heron....1
American Tree Sparrow....8
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)....8