08/27/11 – Peach Hill Park Hike

Irene is knocking on Dutchess County’s door, but I had to squeeze one final hike in before her wrath would be felt in our area.  I decided to head to Peach Hill Park to see if yesterday’s luck would follow me there.

While walking through the parking lot, I saw a butterfly sitting on the roof of the new kiosk.  A closer look and I knew it was a viceroy, but it what he was sitting on that interested me more.

There appeared to be a ball of something, almost like a hair ball, on the kiosk.  I took a picture of it with the butterfly, zoomed in, and realized what it was.

Viceroy on Owl Pellet

It appeared to be an owl pellet!  Owls can’t digest bones and fur, so they essentially throw it back up.  It could very well be from the barred owl I hear every evening I come by.  It has to be rather fresh too, because it wasn’t there on my last visit.  I couldn’t have asked for a more unique photo opportunity.

On my way up the hill, I ran into plenty of goldfinches, field sparrows, song sparrows, common yellowthroats, blue jays, and wood pewees.  At one point, I had a juvenile towhee fly out, followed by an adult to feed her.

Out of everything though, the northern flickers and eastern cottontail rabbits were by far, the most numerous.  Flickers were on the trail foraging with the rabbits in several locations, but neither of them stayed around too long for photos.  I believe I only got one flicker photo, and it wasn’t even that good either.

It wasn’t much sooner after I arrived that the rain started up.  And I was seeing so much too!  I packed up the camera, through my rain jacket over my backpack, but decided to just walk around and observe.  Unfortunately, most of the wildlife decided it was a good time to hunker down, so I left as well.

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