Sunday, February 14, 2010


This weekend was a real surprise when it came to the diversity of raptors that I was able to spot. It started off looking for a bird that had been reported by a fellow birder named Randy. He had reported a Golden Eagle hanging around in the Town of North Harpersfield in Delaware County. I was already over in Schoharie County doing some birding so I figured why not hop over the county line to see if I could find it. I drove up and down Rt 29 three times with no luck. After a snack break at a local store, I decided to give it one more try. I'm glad I did.

A large bird powered off the ground from a field full of saplings as I passed a farm. Even with just a quick glance while driving there was no doubt as to what it was. I was very happy to discover that my vehicle is still able to come to a very rapid, screeching stop and was out the door in an instant.

There it was. An incredible view of a Golden Eagle that was soaring around at a fairly low altitude. It didn't seem to be in any big hurry to leave the area and just soared over the road.

The low sun angle of the winter sun made the lighting less than ideal, but I was thankful just to be looking at it.

It was obvious that the eagle had no intentions on leaving the area and eventually started circling lower and lower.

It eventually wheeled around right in front of me and gave the best look yet. I was in complete awe at this point. One thing that the pictures don't do justice to is the size of this bird. It was big, real big and had quite a presence.

It then perched in the woods behind someones house. Now that's a good yardbird! Over the years I have been lucky enough to see them soaring above during migration, but this was the first time that I had ever seen one perched. They sure do blend in very well. Quite an experience.

On the way home 3 immature Bald eagles were spotted soaring.

Not quite as exciting as a Golden Eagle, but you still have to admire them.

This Rough-legged Hawk was spotted over in Rensselaerville on the way home. Not that many have been in the area this year compared to last. Probably due to rodent availability or something like that.

I'm sure they get to see plenty of Golden Eagles on their summer range.

On Sunday I headed down to the valley to do some birding. This American Kestrel was hanging out at 5-Rivers.

I was watching a Northern Harrier hunt over one of the fields down at Papscanee when it suddenly dropped to the ground.

When it didn't come back off the ground right away, I knew that it was successful. So I just stood still and let it enjoy a meal.

The harrier didn't waste any time and started devouring it's catch right away.

It looked to be a mouse or vole. There is no snow cover down in the lower elevations of our area and this has to be making things a lot easier for them.

Dinner was over in record time and then it was back to hunting.

Quite a weekend.