01/22/11 – Hopeland Park, Mills Mansion, Norrie Point Hike

Northern Cardinal (Female)

When I got outside early this morning and that frigid air hit my face, I knew it was going to be a rough day.  Fresh snow with ice underneath, both of which are over the older snow didn’t sound like pleasant hiking either.  Regardless, I headed to Staatsburg to see what I might find.

The first location I stopped at (after I picked up some breakfast) was Hopeland Park, which is right near Mills Mansion.

Right out of the car, I spotted a red-tailed hawk on a branch.  He took off fairly quickly in the direction I was hiking, and I saw him several more times before heading into the woods.  A cardinal greeted me at the woods entrance, followed by a yellow-bellied sapsucker.  After that though, it stayed pretty quiet for a while.  I could hear pecking all throughout the woods, but I couldn’t find any of the woodpeckers.

I did have a learning moment though.  I heard what sounded like a hawk extremely close to where I was standing and after a few moments, I found my bird.  It was a blue jay!  I never knew how well they could accurately mimic the call of a hawk.  It happened on more than one occasion too.

I did find a few spots of exposed grass that were feeding spots for white-throated sparrows, song sparrows, and dark-eyed juncos.  At one point, I even saw a few golden-crowned kinglets flying about.  They move around incredibly fast and are very difficult to photograph.  No shots this time.

I then headed to Mills Mansion to check out areas near the Hudson River.  I’m trying to get a good photo of an adult bald eagle in Dutchess County, and winter is the best time.  Once again though, my hike started with a red-tailed hawk sighting, followed by another yellow-bellied sapsucker.  I then headed down into the woods to see what else I could find.

I ran into some more blue jays, tufted titmice, golden-crowned kinglets, red-bellied woodpeckers and one white-breasted nuthatch while there.  After waiting around for quite some time, I began to head back.  With my back to the river now, I turned to look one last time only to see an adult bald eagle!  Success was not in the cards though, as you may have already read here.

Feeling like I might be able to spot him again, I drove to Norrie Point.  I was crossing my fingers for him to still be hanging around, but no luck though.  I did run into a couple that pointed out what they said was a fox out on the river.  After a lot of searching I spotted it briefly and snapped a photo.  At this point, he was already near the other side of the river.

And that was my day!  After loading the pictures on my computer, the photo of the fox more closely resembles the size of a coyote.  I’ll post it with my gallery as soon as I can to open the discussion.  I also unearthed my old point-and-shoot camera and took a few landscape photos throughout the day too, which will also be posted soon.  Full sighting list below:

  1. Bald Eagle (Adult at Mills Mansion)
  2. Red-Tailed Hawk
  3. Mourning Dove
  4. Red-Bellied Woodpecker
  5. Yellow-Bellied Woodpecker (1 at Hopeland, 1 at Mills)
  6. Downy Woodpecker
  7. Hairy Woodpecker
  8. Pileated Woodpecker (heard at Mills Mansion)
  9. Blue Jay
  10. American Crow (20 or so near deer carcass at Hopeland)
  11. Black-Capped Chickadee
  12. Tufted Titmouse
  13. White-Breasted Nuthatch
  14. Golden-Crowned Kinglet
  15. Eastern Bluebird
  16. American Robin
  17. European Starling
  18. Song Sparrow
  19. White-Throated Sparrow
  20. Dark-Eyed Junco
  21. Northern Cardinal
  22. American Goldfinch (Heard at Hopeland)
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