Sunday, March 11, 2007

Ducks, Sparrows, and Hawks

I was out for about 4 hours this morning and walked all the way down Lake Creek to where it goes under Parmer. On Stillforest I got a nice look at a Cooper's Hawk near Chester Forest and then a better look at a Brown Creeper a little further down. It's always a treat to see these little birds working tree trunks like a tiny woodpecker.

On the creek there were American Wigeons and Blue-winged Teal. I took the above picture of a pair of the wigeon just downstream of the first dam. (There's a Red-eared Slider up in the corner.) I saw 7 species of sparrows, all near the creek. There were more Vesper Sparrows and Field Sparrows than I've ever seen here before. The second picture is of a White-throated Sparrow that I took on the west side of the creek at the northern edge of the T&C playing fields.

The highlight of the morning was finding a female Northern Harrier hunting near Parmer Lane. These low-flying hawks cruise over open marsh or grassland looking and listening for prey. They have facial disks similar to owls (though not as pronounced) that funnel sound waves to their ears to aide in locating prey by sound. This is only the second time I've seen this hawk in our neighborhood.

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