I stopped at Vassar Farm after work today to continue my search for springtime birds. Not only did I get my first warbler shots of the season, I got a great shot of an american kestrel (pictured), and also saw broad-winged hawks. It was quite a day.
I started at the front ponds as usual, hoping to see a heron or the wood ducks from last week, but neither were there. Sightings there included a mallard, a song sparrow, a pair of house sparrows, a pair of mockingbirds, and a few crows. I could hear the red-winged blackbirds and common grackles, but I wasn’t able to find them either.
As I made my way back through the parking lot, I happened to look straight up to see several birds gliding through the sky. They were pretty high up and I assumed they were vultures. Thankfully, I took a few photos and when I looked at them at home, they were all broad-winged hawks, fourteen in total!
It didn’t end there either. I took the grassy trail instead of the paved road to the fields, which didn’t yield many sightings, only a pair of brown-headed cowbirds. It was when I decided to hang a left at the gate towards that dead end area that leads into the Greenway Services entrance, that’s where I found the kestrel. As I was photographing an eastern cottontail, that’s when I noticed I was standing near the kestrel. I couldn’t believe he stuck around with me being so close!
When I finally made my way into the fields, two fellow birders let me know they saw a few palm warblers (if either of you visit my blog, thanks for the tip!!) by the eco ponds. I made back there and was greeted to three of them! It was the first warbler I’ve seen this season so far.
I tried my best to stick with them, but they are fast little birds. The only thing harder to photograph was a ruby-crowned kinglet that I spotted while observing the warblers. I somehow managed to get a decent one of the kinglet too.
All in all, it was a superb day, much better than I expected. Now that I’ve seen a warbler, it’s time to try and get out early in the morning for better sightings.
Full Sighting List:
- Broad-winged Hawk (New species for me! #110)
- Red-tailed Hawk
- Mourning Dove
- Red-bellied Woodpecker
- Downy Woodpecker
- Northern Flicker
- Eastern Phoebe
- American Crow
- Black-capped Chickadee
- White-breasted Nuthatch (heard only)
- Ruby-crowned kinglet (first of season sighting)
- Eastern Bluebird
- American Robin
- Northern Mockingbird
- European Starling
- Palm Warbler (first of season sighting)
- Chipping Sparrow (heard only)
- Song Sparrow
- White-throated Sparrow
- Northern Cardinal
- Red-winged Blackbird (heard only)
- Common Grackle
- Brown-headed Cowbird
- House Sparrow