Monday, October 31, 2011

Raptors and Sparrows

While birding around the yard this morning, I found a surprising number of species for this late in the season. Around sunrise, the field was filled with a flock of sparrows that consisted mostly of Dark-eyed Juncos, but also held White-throated, Song, Field, Chipping, and Fox Sparrows. The Fox Sparrows are some of the first I have seen this season, as their migration through the region is just beginning.

Fox Sparrow

White-throated Sparrow

Yellow-rumped Warblers were everywhere along the field edge and in the yard itself. Every vine, bush, and tree with berries along the field edge held at least one Yellow-rump this morning. The Poison Ivy vines seem to have a tremendous amount of fruit this year, so several birds including the Yellow-rumped Warblers, sparrows, and Hermit Thrushes have been taking advantage of this excellent food source.

Yellow-rumped Warbler on a Poison Ivy vine
The best birds today were the migrating raptors. Although the sight of a kettle of hundreds of Broad-winged Hawks in September and the constant stream of Sharp-shinned Hawks in October are exciting to watch, I particularly enjoy the migrants that move through in late October and November. Species like Golden Eagles and Northern Goshawks are always amazing to watch as they fly over. Even watching a Red-tailed Hawk, another primarily late-season migrant, move down-ridge is an impressive sight. While hawk watching from my deck around noon today, I spotted several Red-tailed Hawks, three Red-shouldered Hawks, and a single, gorgeous Golden Eagle that flew directly over where I was sitting.

Golden Eagle

Red-tailed Hawk

1 comment:

Grant Stevenson said...

Nice pics as usual!...