[CT Birds] Redpolls and Gray Ghosts

Mntncougar at aol.com Mntncougar at aol.com
Mon Jan 7 20:57:21 EST 2008

A few people came to see the Redpolls in my yard this morning  but no luck 
with the Hoary Redpoll.  A flock of about 50 was here about  7:30 AM but flushed 
and never really came back except for an odd bird or  so.  I suspect this was 
weather related, as I didn't see them so often  Christmas week when it was 
warm and sunny.   I expect them to be  around more when the weather turns colder 
I went to the UCONN area this afternoon looking for the  reported Northern 
Shrike, but didn't see him.  Then I headed for the  field off East Street (in 
Mansfield)  where Snow Buntings and Horned Larks  were seen.  Nothing there 
either when I arrived, but I drove down the  "Windswept Realty"  drive next to the 
field hoping for a better look.   When I stopped I immediately saw a large 
bird circling the field which turned  out to be a gorgeous Gray Ghost Northern 
Harrier.  Had a beautiful look at  a beautiful bird.  I stopped out on East 
Street again and saw a flock of  about 20 small light colored birds circling the 
field.  They looked like  Snow buntings in the glimpse I got of them in my 
binoculars, but they could have  been Horned Larks.  They never landed and after 
about 5 circles headed off  to the east.
I headed back to Storrs and Horsebarn Hill and saw the resident  pair of 
Red-tails on the way around, first together in a tree, then circling for  me.  
There was also another Red-tail in the field south of the horse barn,  apparently 
drinking from a puddle.    I went down the dead-end road on  the northwest 
side of the hill hoping for Larks or Buntings but no dice.   As I headed back 
out, I saw a bird in the marsh down below the road, which flew  up as I stopped 
and turned out to be a brown Northern Harrier.  It  flew  to a post on a fence 
line along the marsh, and as it landed I noticed  there was another hawk on 
the next post.  At first I didn't recognize it,  as it was much lighter colored 
than the Harrier, but then it flew from the post  and almost right at me, and 
i recognized it as another Gray Ghost!   Apparently those 2 birds are a mated 
pair.  Never saw Harriers there  before.  All 3 were beautiful birds and made 
it a good day for me. 
Don Morgan

**************Start the year off right.  Easy ways to stay in shape.     

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