Julie McCall reports: "The Northern Shrike continues in the area of the AmVets Carillon, on both sides of the road. Fun stuff from Sunday at the end of the post, pre-empted for those who are tired of hearing about him. "
Raptors: Northern Harriers and Red-tailed Hawks were along Disposal Road, and over the former landfills. Saturrday another birder and I got a very good look at a (presumably) immature red-tail just sitting atop a pole, and then in the treetops near the Carillon, unconcerned with people. The hawk was even unconcerned when a jogger ran under the tree it was perched on, a mere 10 feet or so below. We watched for about 20 minutes, and the bird stayed until a Belted Kingfisher chased a Northern Harrier right past the red-tail. When the kingfisher was satisfied that the harrier was leaving, it turned back on the red-tail, who flew off. The hawk had pale yellow eyes, *no* red tail, but had the belly band and white spotting on the wings. The kingfisher had nerves of steel.
Waterfowl: Sunday there was a Wood Duck drake among the Mallards in the Teal Pool. I also saw a wood duck (presumably the same one?) on Friday. The raft of Canvasbacks continue over the mudflats, to the right of
the Transco Trail if you're facing NYC. There are typically over 200 birds.
– Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, American Black Duck, Gadwall,
Bufflehead, Common Merganser, Hooded Merganser, Mallard
– Canada Goose, 1 Mute Swan (Saturday).
Sparrows: White-throated, White-crowned, Fox, Song. Numbers seem to be decreasing. But I think it's more likely that with all the snow, they're feeding in different areas than I'm accustomed to seeing them in. Make sense?
Signs of Spring! A lot more Mourning Doves the past two days. For at least a month, I'd see maybe 2 or 3 doves on a daily trip. This week the numbers
seem to be picking up, until finally both today and yesterday I've seen about 25 each day. And they're making more noise.
– Several Red-winged Blackbirds today, konk-a-reeing away. Music to my ears.
– a Red-eared Slider (of the featherless bird variety) was sunning itself near the beginning of the Marsh Discovery Trail. I don't think he gets weather.com.
Various and sundry: Fierce and fearless Belted Kingfishers (at least 2); Downy Woodpecker, Northern Mockingbird, Northern Cardinal, American
Robin, European Starling, gulls galore, and a handful of Common Grackles.
Northern Shrike: "While the shrike was around earlier in the day as well, I didn't see him until 4:30, when he flew from the area of the Saw Mill Creek Trail and landed in a tree about 20 feet in front of me. He then flew behind the retention pond, and I was treated to an awesome show when a female Belted Kingfisher (my bird of choice these days) flew in with an angry rattle and landed on the same tree he was in. The two yelled at each other for a few moments, and then took turns diving at each other. The kingfisher got aggravated and flew off toward the other end of the pond. The shrike took to singing (no doubt about his reign over the land) as I watched with two other birders.
The shrike then proceeded, in the next few minutes, to chase and/or divebomb:- a Northern Mockingbird
– a Mourning Dove
– a rather bedraggled rodent.
The shrike was victorious on all counts, except perhaps with the rodent,
who seemed to be oblivious to the shrike and therefore unable to care
enough to run away. Eventually, the shrike flew back to the Saw Mill
Creek Trail, after quite a good showing.