Friday, November 6, 2009

Mount Watatic 11/6

Yesterday's weather forecast had looked excellent for hawkwatching today and I was able to get the day off. The hike, to the east summit, was very pleasant, but there was very little bird activity aside from Black-capped Chickadees, Juncos and Golden-crowned Kinglets. The first raptor of the day was a distant Peregrine Falcon (a nice surprise for November) and soon after a Red-tail was up and moving too...."things" were looking pretty good. Soon after an immature Red-shouldered Hawk pasted over head, three birds in just a few minutes.
Unfortunately, the day would pretty much go down hill, despite hard scanning it was difficult to find birds despite having nice cloud cover, for a "back ground". My friend Paul joined me later in the morning, apparently he wasn't packing the "luck" as the flight went from 13 birds in 2 hours to 3 birds in the next THREE hours. But so goes a late season hawkwatch in these parts. We "hung in" until 2:30 hoping one bird, such as a Rough-legged Hawk or a Golden Eagle would "save the day", that would not be the case.
All was not lost, the scenery was nice, the hike and Paul and I had nice conversation. A few Snow Bunting (and snow flurries) were nearby for a while. I was able to capture a few digi-bin photos of this cooperative bird:

So many times I see Snow Buntings from a distance, as they fly past over a large field or airport, but once ot twice a year, one or two will hang out near the hawkwatch. If I recall correctly, Snow Buntings "come into" their breeding plumage by the brownish tan portion feathers wearing off, down to white portion of the feathers below, as opposed to a molt.
Few Amercian Crows were moving, something I always look foreward to seeing this time of year, though the date maybe a bit past the peak.
The Hawk totals:
Cooper's Hawk 2
Red-shouldered Hawk 2
Red-Tailed Hawk 12
Peregrine Falcon 1


Kim said...

Tom, those are excellent Snow Bunting pictures! I still can't get over how clear your pictures come out through binoculars. I have tried it a few times and you can't even make out the bird!

Too bad you didn't get the Rough-legged Hawk or Golden Eagle but the Peregrine Falcon and Red-shouldered Hawk must have been really nice.

Tom Pirro said...

Thanks Kim, when upgraded to the Zeiss Fl's it made a huge difference compaired to my Nikon Monarchs. Which happen to be an excellent cost effective bin... I have been using the Nikons for hiking in the "whites" when birding isn;t the primary activity. That SNow Bunting was most cooperative...a beautiful little bird.

Hilke Breder said...

Congrats! Love the shots of the snow bunting, such beautiful birds and for me always a treat when I see one.