[CT Birds] Rough-legged Hawks; a personal best.
Mntncougar at aol.com
Mntncougar at aol.com
Thu Dec 19 19:51:02 EST 2013
With the sun out and temperature up I came out of hibernation and headed
to the shore today. At Hammo I enjoyed the 2 (1 light, one dark morph)
Rough-legged Hawks, along with quite a few other birders. We were at the site of
the old platform at the end of Willard's Island from roughly 10 to noon,
and the birds were in front of us across the river. They were at a fair
distance but easily viewable with bins and even more so with a scope.
A couple of times we saw an interaction between a Rough-leg and a Northern
Harrier. It didn't appear to be harassment or fighting so much as
curiosity; they hovered together over the marsh at very close quarters. there were
Harriers all over the park today, a minimum of 6 but probably more. I saw
at least 4 at the east end and 2 more at the west end.
I and a few others also saw at least 1, probably 2 Great Horned Owls when
leaving Willards. 1 perched in a bare tree on the edge of the marsh and was
harassed by a sub-adult gray ghost Harrier.
In the nature center parking lot there was a flock of over 100 Horned
Larks (I counted 97 from one spot, but I'm sure I couldn't see all of them from
there). Mixed in were at least 3 Lapland Longspurs - I had 3 in my bins at
one time as they seemed to huddle close together. I also had 2 more
Longspurs at the gravel lot at the west end in a flock of about 60 birds.
Interestingly, The sun was in my eyes there, so there could easily have been more
Longspurs. I did not see a single Snow Bunting today.
I stayed too long at Hammo, but finally headed over to Stratford. Didn't
see too much overall but there was a dark morph Rough-leg hovering over the
marsh right next to the causeway south of the airport. It actually went
back and forth across the road and was there for at least half an hour that I
know of. Too bad you can't stop (or even slow down) on that causeway.
I went over to Short Beach and had yet another Rough-leg, a light morph,
pointed out to me. It was sitting at the top of a tree at the top of the
dump pile, just inside the south fence. Unfortunately there was an almost
constant cacophony of shot gun blasts coming from that area, so I hope that
bird stayed low and got out of the area. Lots of ducks off the beach there,
mostly Gadwall, Widgeons and Blacks, plus a few Golden-eye, along with a
lot of Canada Geese. I saw a cormorant which I believe was a Great Cormorant,
but not a good enough look to be sure.
My final stop was Birdseye Boat Launch, but nothing of note, and the sun
was setting as I left. Unfortunately I missed the reported Snowies at both
Hammo and Stratford today; birds I really wanted to see. I looked from the
causeway and Oak Bluff Ave and scoped the area from the north end of the
Long Beach parking lot, but came up empty. Oh well, hopefully another day.
I'm quite sure that 4 Rough-legs in a day is a personal best for me, and
I'm certain that I never saw 2 different dark-morphs the same day before.
2 Rough-legged Hawks, 1 light morph, 1 dark north of Willard's Island
6 (or more) Northern Harriers
1 (or 2) Great Horned Owls
160 + Horned Larks
5 (or more) Lapland Longspurs
1 Red-tailed Hawk
1 Dark-morph Rough-legged Hawk off the causeway south of the airport
1 Light-morph Rough-legged Hawk at the dump by Short Beach
Lots of waterfowl
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