Friday, March 4, 2016

Yard Birds 89 & 90

    I had a pretty good year of birding in the new yard in 2015. I totaled 88 species through November and looked forward to what the winter might bring in early 2016.  When I woke on New Year's morning and counted 24 Gray Squirrels gorging themselves at the five bird feeding stations scattered around my half acre, I should have recognized it as an omen of what the next two months would have in store.
  As it turned out January and February were dead in terms of bird diversity at my house.  But March marks the beginning of ornithological spring and with it the birds begin to move.  The past two days temperatures sky-rocketed to the mid-30's with light wind and mostly sunny skies.  Yesterday as I was chillin' and grillin' out on the deck I noticed an adult Bald Eagle clearly migrating, as it headed north at a great altitude. I grabbed my binoculars and camera suspecting that there may be other raptors on the move.
   About 20 minutes later I spied a Rough-legged Hawk (New Species, #89) on the exact same flight path that the eagle had taken.  Just a minute later it was followed by a second Roughie.

Rough-Legged Hawk

Second Roughie

   Then early this afternoon I had this group of Common Mergansers zip by and take the yard list to an even 90.
Common Mergansers

   Here are a couple of more raptors that soared by today.
Red-tailed Hawk

Immature Bald Eagle
     Back near the ground, the birds are making progress on retaking the feeders from the squirrel insurgents.
Red-bellied Woodpecker
  This White-breasted Nuthatch seemed a little disappointed that he couldn't work the whole suet cake through the holes in the cage so he decided to make two trips.
White-breasted Nuthatch
  Earlier in the week I had a Brown Creeper in the tree next to the driveway.
Brown Creeper
  Two weekends ago I visited my friends at my former workplace and took some photos of ducks that winter there.
Redheads and Lesser Scaup
   As for a hitlist of  expected birds to add to the list as it closes in on 100, Common Redpoll would be nice, as would Snow Bunting.  Hell I don't even have a House Finch yet.  Being that I live only two miles from Lake Michigan-Huron (the largest freshwater lake in terms of surface area in the world) any number of duck species (beside the two I currently have)  are possible.  I hope number 100 is something epic like a county rarity... but who am I kidding it'll probably be a House Sparrow.

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