Ann and I met at the SCC this morning at 9 a.m. for a half-day of whatever, having no expectations yet in the end we reaped a few excellent birds and some amazing photo opps. There was no sign of any Red-tailed Hawks, and as indicated on Ann's blog of late, their territory has significantly expanded in the past few weeks, so any sightings of them, near or far, are a gift.
Ann had already tracked down the American Kestrels that have been frequenting the area this week:
We saw this one take out a small bird in a nearby spruce tree, but upon closer inspection, it's in fact a cicada that it's eating:
We decided to move on but something caught Hawkeye (!) Ann's attention and sure enough, it was the male Red-tailed Hawk, we were thrilled! We enjoyed his morning antics as he wandered around on the ground looking for some protein (=insects), as well as flying from tree branches to man-made objects in the area. I was so pleased to see how adept his flying skills are now, not once did he misjudge his chosen flight path:
I have no idea what that bug thingy is in his mouth, but he sure enjoyed scarfing it down!
We reluctantly left him to his feeding routine, and our next stop was at a marsh near the Highland Creek, the footing was quite a challenge but it was well worth the effort, thanks for sharing, Ann!
There were several Eastern Kingbirds and Phoebes, Common Grackles, American Goldfinches, Mourning Doves, and Belted Kingfishers:
But our Jewel of the Day was this Black-crowned Night-Heron that was right in front of us, I still cannot believe our good fortune:
Here's a different one in another part of the marsh:
This one did move further away from us...my flight shots of it were a disgrace (I think Ann may have some killer flight shots that perhaps will be shared on her blog??), but here is its landing, at least, on a dead log:
Our next stop was Morningside Park but it was quiet there (other than several hundred family picnics underway on the long week-end, grrrrrrrrrrr). The highlights were a stunning male Baltimore Oriole and a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak, but the water levels in the marshy area were quite low, so we didn't stay there for very long. Ann headed off for home while I stopped by at Reesor Pond (dead) and then the marsh in north Pickering, just in case the Green Heron was out-and-about. There was an eerie silence as I parked my car, not even the usual Wood Ducks were around....odd.
Then I saw him, the Tiger of the Sky, a roosting Great Horned Owl (sorry, Les!) on the far side of the marsh, no wonder the marsh was so vacant:
So ended another day of summer
nebirding, maybe going forward my philosophy should be:
"Expect nothing, so if anything turns up, it's a TREAT".