About twenty-five people came to DeKorte Park for our First Sunday bird walk yesterday. The temperature was colder than expected – about 26 degrees, but the snow held off until about an hour after we finished.
We walked as a group from the EC parking lot to the Lyndhurst Nature Reserve, scouting the evergreens for a glimpse of a long-eared owl, to no avail. We saw a group of Hooded Mergansers in one of only a few open patches of water near the Saw Mill Creek Trail. Thanks to Mickey Raine for the photos here.
We decided to venture down to Disposal Road. (No construction work on Sunday – please remember the road is officially closed to traffic.) We were rewarded with a long look at a dark-morph Rough-legged Hawk, who hovered stock still for what seemed like 20 minutes over the Erie landfill, looking for prey.
Earlier we watched the same bird chase a Red-tailed Hawk from its perch on a lonely ailanthus, only to be harassed by some crows in turn. The Rough-leg flew off for a while before returning for its hovering performance.
Another Rough-leg, a light morph this time, glided over the Kingsland landfill, giving us a nice view, then perched where Don Torino was able to get his scope on it for a while. Rich Santangello of Bergen County Audubon was also there working the crowd.
There was also a small flock of Goldfinches, together with a couple of types of Sparrows, in the brush who kept a splinter group of birders occupied for a while.