Saturday, November 30, 2013

November Ends

Pheasant Branch Prairie and Oak Savanna

This month sure seemed to go by quickly. It was a beautiful day for a long hike through various sections of Pheasant Branch Conservancy. We got a few inches of snow earlier in the week, but much of it has since melted. There are still a few patches here and there, especially along the creek corridor where cover ice is forming.

It was a good day for finding birds of prey. Just before sunrise, I spotted a Great Horned Owl hunting from a nearby utility pole. Later on in the morning, two roosting Barred Owls were discovered in the woods. Raptors included Cooper's Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, and Northern Harrier. Though I missed the Northern Shrike, another birder reported seeing it, so it's still there.

Roosting Barred Owl

I was a little surprised to see a Wilson's Snipe along the creek corridor, but I do occasionally find them there during the Christmas Bird Count. Unfortunately, I didn't know it was there until it flushed. It didn't fly far, though. There must be good things for a shorebird to eat along the bank of the creek. The snipe put me at 59 conservancy bird species for the month of November, beating my previous record of 55.

North Creek Corridor

American Tree Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos are the most abundant songbirds now. It looks like a few White-throated Sparrows will overwinter near the Conservancy Condos once again. There was one Fox Sparrow and one Song Sparrow with them, but no sign of the Eastern Towhee I saw a week ago.

Red-tailed Hawk

All images © 2013 Mike McDowell

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