Chirps and Cheeps

A Photo Journal of My Birding Experiences & Observations

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  February's Saw-whet and Other Sightings

Published: February 12, 2019
Tags: General Observations, northern saw-whet owl, common raven, bald eagle, gadwall, cedar waxwing, red-tailed hawk, purple finch, belted kingfisher, iceland gull, wild turkey

On the third of the month, a new birder and his wife found a Northern Saw-whet Owl at Stiglmeier Park.  Imagine their joy!  I was at a family birthday party when I first heard about it and I didn't have a lot of confidence that the bird would stay the night so I put it right out of my mind.  However, when I heard a friend was trying to find it the next morning, I thought I might as well go and lend a hand.  We looked for a good long time, right up until my friend had to leave.  I decided to stay awhile longer and give the search a wider berth.  Not much later, I saw a little lump of a bird, sitting fairly high up in a crabapple, sound asleep.  I called my friend and he rushed back, and was able to add the adorable doll to his life list.  I left a marker along the path, and subsequently, many others got to see this bird during the day.  The owl actually stayed a few more days to my surprise - and, as owls always do, drew crowds of admirers during his stay.

If you look under the owl in the photos, you'll see a rodent's feet and tail hanging out.  The little guy obviously ate well while he visited! 

Other neat sightings during the last couple of weeks were...

...a juvenile Bald Eagle (first year) sitting in a wooded area not too far from the road.  It always surprises me to see an eagle sitting in that type of setting.  It's happened enough times to where it shouldn't be surprising - but, for some reason, it always is.  Check out how raggedy he is - he must have had a tough first year.

...two Common Ravens in the town of Concord.  I've seen them in the area before but this was the first time I was quick enough to get photos.

...a HUGE flock of Cedar Waxwings again.  And again, I was certain I'd find a Bohemian Waxwing among them, but no such luck!  So far, I've paid four visits to this flock (which has grown greatly in number).  Another enormous group was within a quarter mile, so I think they're all one, huge "museum" of waxings.  At this visit, I had good lighting and both groups were nice and close.  With such favorable conditions, I stayed for hours searching through the swirling masses for a Bohemian.  If one was was mixed in there, I'm pretty confident I would have found it.

As I studied the flock, I enjoyed their antics as they tossed berries in the air to catch and swallow - dining from the plentiful fruit trees and bushes in the area.  They were all over - at least 400 in number - flying back and forth over the road, jockeying for position on the bushes, some on the ground, some perching in the trees - groups even perching directly overhead.  I'm glad for the sunroof in my car (a birder's essential).  I strained my neck checking out those undertails from all sorts of twisted angles!  My car got "hit" several times during my stay too - I wonder how that berry juice will wash out...

...several flocks of Wild Turkeys, numerous Red-tailed Hawks, flocks of American Robins, a First of Year (FOY) Belted Kingfisher, and a pretty, little pair of Purple Finches among all the Cedar Waxwings.

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A zoomed-in, first photo of the Saw-whet - facing away from me sleeping...

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Going a little further, I found a little better angle and got to see his sleepy face.

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This photo shows well the rodent under him...

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This is the raggedy, young Bald Eagle perched in a wooded area...

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One of the two ravens in Concord

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A second shot of a Common Raven

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A Red-tailed Hawk flying near Woodlawn Beach SP

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A lovely Gadwall seen by my friend, Bernie, and I

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A poor shot of an Iceland Gull sitting out on the ice

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A pretty, little female Purple Finch enjoying some berries near the big flock of waxwings

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A Cedar Waxwing pauses between berries

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A pair of waxwings that had fed one another just moments before - sweetness!!!

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An American Robin - one of about 100 at Beaver Island SP!

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A female Belted Kingfisher - a FOY (first-of-year) for me at Beaver Island SP.

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A flock of Wild Turkeys near the young eagle



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