Sunday, May 3, 2009


The morning was overcast and seasonably mild for early spring. Things got off to an interesting start right at first light. I was standing in a small clearing when I was shocked to see a large falcon flying due east at a relatively low altitude. Fortunately, I already had my camera on and was able to get off a quick "hip-shot".

Even without binoculars it was obvious that it was a Peregrine Falcon. The first one that I had ever spotted up here in Partridge Run and was completely amazed. The bird was flying like it was on a mission.

The nearest known nest sight for these birds is about 25 miles away in Albany and I knew this certainly wasn't one of them. During spring migration peregrines usually migrate north along the Atlantic coast and are rare inland. I'm thinking that this bird somehow got a bit off course yesterday and once the sun came up, it was headed east towards the very distant ocean. Quite an early morning wake up!

Here's an interesting anomaly that's been hanging around the area. This bird has returned to the same general area that it occupied last year. It sings a Golden-winged Warbler song most of the time, but it sure does not look like one.

It doesn't resemble the typical Blue-winged Warbler as it has a lot of white on the underparts, white cheeks and a lot of gray on the back and neck. This is a hybrid between a Blue-winged and Golden-winged Warbler. They call these birds Brewster's Warblers and as interesting as they are to look at, they are being created at a high price. The Blue-winged Warblers are taking over much of the traditional nesting grounds of the Golden-winged Warblers in our area. This is probably due to habitat succession as well as the blue-wings being more aggressive. This combined with the fact that the two species hybridize regularly, has led to a serious decline in the number of golden-wings in our area.

Nashville Warblers have also arrived in the area and a few are staking out some prime territory. You can actually see of the rufous crown feathers on this bird that are often difficult to see.

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks have also arrived. A great bird to look at as well as listen to.

I spotted this female Hooded Merganser on a small pond. It reminded me that last year I found 2 pair of them, that successfully nested just down the road. Seems to be an increasing phenomenon in our area.

Back at home the Pine Siskins are still inhaling as much thistle seed as possible. Are they ever going to leave?

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