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Saturday, March 06, 2004

Prospect Park

I managed to dodge the raindrops and take a quick look at the Red-tailed Hawk nest today. Upon entering the park at 5th Street I spotted "Split-tail" (he looks like he's developing that weird split in his tail again) perched above the Litchfield Villa. The squirrels were all squealing in unison. His mate, "Big Mama" was perched near their nest and she chirped for him when he circled above their woods. All along the grassy rise of Payne Hill a large flock of robins and juncos fed, taking advantage of the rain softened ground.

Ominous-looking dark clouds were rolling in so I didn't linger at the nest for very long. I quickly looped through the Ravine to check on the second red-tailed nest. As I walked on the lower path a flock of robins, juncos and jays suddenly scrambled for cover. In his panicked state one of the juncos nearly crashed into me. I searched the trees for predators but couldn't locate any.

It appears that the second pair of red-tails have relocated as their nest now seems unused. I wonder if "Big Mama" chased them off. As I walked passed the Lower pond I spotted the object of the birds panic earlier in my walk; a female Merlin. Perched near the top of her favorite Gingko tree, she methodically plucked the dark grey feathers from a freshly killed junco.
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Prospect Park, 3/6/2004
Bufflehead (3, Upper Pond.)
Hooded Merganser (3, Upper Pond.)
Red-tailed Hawk (2. Litchfield Villa, Payne Hill.)
Merlin (Perched next to Lower Pond.)
Ring-billed Gull
White-breasted Nuthatch (Litchfield Villa.)
Fox Sparrow (3, Ravine.)
White-throated Sparrow (~50, Ravine.)
Dark-eyed Junco (~100, Payne Hill & Ravine.)
Common Grackle (Long Meadow.)

Other resident species seen (or heard):
Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker (Ravine.), Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee (Payne Hill.), Tufted Titmouse (Payne Hill.), American Robin (~75, Payne Hill.), European Starling, Song Sparrow (3, Ravine.), Northern Cardinal

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