12/31/10 – Vassar Farm Hike

When I got home from work this afternoon, I nearly saw a Cooper’s Hawk grab a cardinal from a tree!  I took that as a sign to get out one last time this year, so I decided to go to Vassar Farm.

I am so happy I made that decision, because not only did I add one more bird to my 2010 sighting list, but I also got some pretty decent photos, including this American Tree Sparrow!

I did my normal routine, which starts at the front pond and goes into the woods.  The pond was almost frozen completely over, with the exception of a small patch of water with no ducks nearby.  Since it was pretty difficult to walk in the snow with my camera gear, I simply followed a path that someone else made into the woods.  It varied a little bit from my routine, but I was glad I followed it.

A short way in, I heard numerous pecking in the trees, so I stopped to look around.  I ended up spending nearly an hour in that spot!  The first woodpecker spotted was a female Hairy Woodpecker, the first and only sighting for me in 2010.  I saw a couple in 2009, but it was eluded me up until this point.  That puts me at 103 bird species seen/photographed in 2010.

It didn’t end with that either.  I literally became surrounded by several different species of birds!  All in all from my spot, I saw blue jays, american crows, white-breasted nuthatches, chickadees, titmice, juncos, bluebirds, downy woodpeckers, red-bellied woodpeckers, northern flickers, and most importantly, a female yellow-bellied sapsucker!

After a majority of the birds flew away, I headed back to the parking lot to head out to the fields.  I decided to take some of the snow covered side trails because I figured I’d have better luck on them.  It was another great decision, as it brought me to a flock of american tree sparrows.  They weren’t the only ones there, I also saw more juncos, bluebirds, starlings, robins, and a pretty large flock of cedar waxwings.

It calmed down after that with only a few red-tailed hawk sightings and a few mallards at the back ponds.  I was really hoping to see an owl, but that will have to wait until 2011.  My full sighting list below:

  1. Canada Goose
  2. Mallard
  3. Red-Tailed Hawk
  4. Cooper’s Hawk (at home)
  5. Ring-Billed Gull
  6. Mourning Dove
  7. Belted Kingfisher (heard only)
  8. Red-Bellied Woodpecker
  9. Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker
  10. Downy Woodpecker
  11. Hairy Woodpecker
  12. Northern Flicker
  13. Blue Jay
  14. American Crow
  15. Black-Capped Chickadee
  16. Tufted Titmouse
  17. White-Breasted Nuthatch
  18. Carolina Wren
  19. Eastern Bluebird
  20. American Robin
  21. Northern Mockingbird
  22. European Starling
  23. Cedar Waxwing
  24. American Tree Sparrow
  25. Song Sparrow
  26. White-Throated Sparrow
  27. Dark-Eyed Junco
  28. Northern Cardinal
  29. American Goldfinch
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3 Responses to 12/31/10 – Vassar Farm Hike

  1. Bob Zeller says:

    Nice to hear from another wildlife photographer. Great images. I don’t know where you are geographically but your bird list is similar to mine here in west Texas. I will check back and see what you keep seeing.

    Bob Zeller

  2. Bob Zeller says:

    P.S. Great shot of the American Tree Sparrow. Happy New Year!!

  3. Derrick says:

    Hi Bob! Thanks for visiting my blog. I photograph primarily in Dutchess County, New York, which is between the Hudson River and the state of Connecticut. Texas, huh? I am very jealous that you have Burrowing Owls by you, I’ve always wanted to see one! Anyway, happy new year and good luck with your sightings!

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