Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Big Day

Female Northern Harrier on the hunt. Photo by Alan

Like Darth Vader all in brown that was almost black she sailed low over the marshes, teetering on long, straight wings.

Slowly, slowly she slipped up on the pool of puddle ducks, then, BAM! she stooped, looking for a cheap meal.

Teal etc. explode out of the water. I took this one.

With a thunderous clapping of wings and a flume of flying water a hundred puddle and diving ducks hit the air....Green and Blue Winged Teal, Redheads, Wood Ducks, a Mallard or two, a single Mallard/Black Duck hybrid (probably, purple speculum, light tan bird)....she put them all to flight.

Duck soup. Just for fun if you want to, click and embiggen this one
 and see how many species you can find.
And let us know, because we are far from experts and always looking for advice!

The Northern Shovelers and Grebes just sat, unconcerned by her attack.

All day she plied the open water, putting the small ducks up and hunting kind of casualy, but we never saw her take one.

The female Northern Harrier was not the high point of another day at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge though.

The big bird so far....we are still going through photos looking for lurkers in the cattails...was a large brown shorebird we spotted in the last big pool on the right. We looked.

And looked

And looked at it for quite a long time. Other birders pulled up behind us, trained lenses on the nearly empty space, and moved on uninterested. But we were curious.We took pictures.

At home I looked up what might be available ...birds that occur regularly at the refuge....and when I saw a photo of a Hudsonian Godwit I thought, "Yes! That's it!" 

Put it up on FB Bird ID and so it was. Another exciting lifer for both of us. There are more sandpipers and shorebirds to be sure of and more duck photos to pore over.....

We saw:

Canada Geese
Ring Billed Gulls
A Blue Jay
American Goldfinch
Tree Swallows

Great Blue Heron
American Crow

Bald Eagle
Red-winged Blackbird
Northern Harrier
Green Winged Teal
Pied Billed Grebe
American Coot
Wood Duck
Blue Winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
American Wigeon (another lifer)
Greater Yellowlegs
Great Egret
Mallard/Black Duck hybrid...probably
Rock Dove

Hudsonian Godwit

It was a great day! Thanks, Alan!


Rev. Paul said...

That's an amazing variety of species. Thanks for sharing!

joated said...

Sounds like you had a GREAT day!

Terry and Linda said...



threecollie said...

Rev. Paul, it was amazing! We are talking about going back maybe in late October or early November. It is said to be spectacular then...not that Saturday wasn't spectacular enough for me lol

Joated, we really did! I have to work on getting some peeps and other small shorebirds id'd. I am awful on them

Linda, it was!