Monthly Archives: February 2010
After dropping off my taxes with the man, I decided to drive on down to Oberly Road in Alpha, NJ. Oberly Road is a birding hotspot for wintering raptors, Snow Buntings, Horned Larks and the much sought-after Lapland Longspur. Of course, I was hoping for Snow Bunting and the elusive Longspur. While I got neither, there was a flock of dozens of Horned Larks swirling around and many sparrows. It was a male Northern Harrier, however, that stole the show.
He appeared out of nowhere, made a few preliminary passes then dove onto a small dark something but then dropped it. He coursed back and forth over the field intent on finding a meal. After some minutes he wheeled off to cross the road to search in another field. I was finally able to breathe again. I do love the gray ghost. I don’t see them often enough.
Oh yeah, and the Horned Larks were nice too.
Can you spare a few minutes for the next 4 days to count birds at your feeders? No feeders? S’okay. You don’t need feeders, you can go to the local park or wildlife refuge. You can also include fly-overs and birds you hear if you are sure of the call. Yes, It is time once again for the Great Backyard Bird Count. I love that this event is short, only 4 days and that I can count as much or as little as I can or have time for. It is not a huge commitment, BUT your data combined with that of all the other participants can help give a glimpse of the bird population this winter.
Remember last year when we were awash in Pine Siskins? This year I have nary a one. But luckily, I do not need to have rare or unusual birds to participate in the count. I want my lone American Tree Sparrow to be counted. It comes very winter by itself and hangs around with the Junco crowd. I have a Carolina Wren or maybe 2 and lots of Chickadees and Titmice and Nutchatches.
It is going to be cold this weekend, so bundle up when you go and keep me posted.
I stood looking down from the bedroom window at the snow. The pristine blanket of white was broken by a trail leading from the woods down and around the top of the property. I squinted against the blandness of white on white. The tracks followed the edge of the mountain laurel, stopping at the sandbox then making a beeline to the bird feeders before wandering off through the arborvitae hedge to the neighbors yard. What the heck! I threw off my robe, gathering clothes as I headed down the stairs. I wanted to see if I could tell what they were, so I grabbed my camera as I headed out.
Well, I don’t know. They look sort of like cat prints. But big. Maybe 2 inches across. I didn’t see any claw marks, so I don’t think they are a dog. Have you seen bobcat prints? How big are they? There is a Weimaraner that lives up the hill. Could it be her?
I had just fed the birds and was sitting in the garage with the door open when I heard the scrape of the plow coming up the driveway. The driver waved as he inched past making a wide swath through the knee-deep snow. The birds scattered but returned when he backed away to make another pass. The driver was someone I had never seen. He rolled down his window as he prepared to make the final pass and hollered above the roar of the diesel, “Are you a birdwatcher?” I nodded happily and pointed at the busy feeders. “I love Chickadees,” he shouted and with a smile and a promise to be back, he crawled down the steep drive onto the unplowed street.
Today’s snow birds were: Carolina Wren, Downy Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Cardinal, American Tree Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Blue Jay