Thursday, January 12, 2017

Colliers Mills 1/12--Snow Goose, Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-headed Woodpecker
With spring-like weather (in the 60's) but fairly breezy, I thought the best place to walk would Colliers Mills for 2017's inaugural visit. I was a little disappointed to see that the lake was still frozen--I'd of thought there would be more open water with the last couple of days of warmish temperatures, so I put the scope in the trunk and birded the roads and fields.

I was walking up Hawkin Rd which runs along the west side of Turnmill Pond, finding the usual birds for the location and date when I heard a lot of high-pitched squawking. Distant geese I figured and looked up to find a huge flock of Snow Geese flying overhead. It is very odd to have found yesterday's Ross's Goose before I had any Snow Geese for the year. Even in flight they seem like goofy birds, whirling around aimlessly, honking away. They later settled down into a stubble field on E. Colliers Mills Road where I passed them on the way out.
Snow Geese
I continued up the road where there were a lot of White-throated Sparrows and juncos. I saw a couple of Red-bellied Woodpeckers fly across the road. I turned around to where they had come from and there, surprisingly, was a Red-headed Woodpecker working on a dead tree. I say surprisingly because of all the times I've seen the RHWO at Colliers Mills, I've never seen one on this side of the WMA. I always thought it would be a good place to find one, but up until today, I was wrong. Looking at my pictures I (mediocre though they are) I can't see a full red head on this bird, so I am assuming it is a juvenile, probably born last year in the nest off Success Road.

Great Blue Heron
The only water I found that wasn't frozen was the little pond on Hawkin Rd past where it bends to the left. And the only bird I found on that open water was a Great Blue Heron. I'm including its photo to show that I sometimes can take a decent picture.

I circled Turnmill Pond, adding for the year Fish Crow (heard only) along the road, and 2 Red-tailed Hawks in their usual place around the firing range.

There was a dearth of sparrows in the fields along Success Road. A galloping dog didn't flush any as I was hoping, so that portion of the walk yielded only a 1 Song Sparrow and 2 Field Sparrows.

I walked past the power line cut to the one of the little ponds off the trail where Wood Ducks are often to be found but that body of water alas was also solid. For the 3 miles or so I walked I had 27 species. They were:
Snow Goose  200     
Great Blue Heron  1     
Turkey Vulture  2
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Ring-billed Gull  6     f/o
Mourning Dove  1
Red-headed Woodpecker  1     
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker  1     Heard
Blue Jay  14
Fish Crow  1     Heard
Carolina Chickadee  9
Tufted Titmouse  8
Red-breasted Nuthatch  1
White-breasted Nuthatch  2     Heard
Carolina Wren  2     Heard
Golden-crowned Kinglet  1     Heard
Eastern Bluebird  1     Woods beyond power line cut
Northern Mockingbird  1
European Starling  1
Field Sparrow  2
Dark-eyed Junco  29
White-throated Sparrow  18
Song Sparrow  1
Northern Cardinal  1
Common Grackle  3
American Goldfinch  1     Heard

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