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Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Another predator for Prospect Park

I ran into Peter while on my way to look for the Great Horned Owl that Bob Bains spotted yesterday. Peter said that he searched for it earlier but couldn't find it.

When we approached the tree that he was roosting in a day ago I noticed one of our local Red-tailed Hawks in the tree. He appeared to be searching the branches of the tree. Jerking his head from side to side and up and down he eventually flew to an adjacent tree for a different perspective. I've heard that Red-tailed Hawks and Great Horned Owls are not the best of friends and I assumed that the hawk was looking to chase the owl off of his territory. He scanned the tree from the new location but didn't seem to find anything. He flew off to the south following close behind was another Red-tailed Hawk. Peter and I also gave up and started walking away. Suddenly Peter got a wide, Cheshire cat grin on his face and pointed up. Perched in the tree, directly above where the Red-tailed Hawk had been was the Great Horned Owl.

Great Horned Owl

(Photo credit - Sean Sime)

This is about the time of year that Great Horned Owls begin breeding and I presume that this individual has dispersed to find his own territory. Right now Prospect Park has at least seven resident Red-tailed Hawks, a couple of overwintering Cooper's Hawks, a Merlin and a Sharp-shinned Hawk. It's hard to believe that there is enough food to go around for all those predators in only 526 acres of urban parkland.

Later, while looking for a reported myiarchus genus flycatcher, I spotted a bright yellow patch feeding at the edge of the phragmites. A Wilson's Warbler is not a bird that I would expect to see on November 23rd but there it was. I wonder if this bird will be able to survive the winter.

Wilson's Warbler

(Photo credit - Sean Sime)

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Prospect Park, 11/23/2004
Northern Shoveler
Ruddy Duck
Red-tailed Hawk (3 or 4 adults.)
American Coot
Ring-billed Gull
Great Horned Owl (1.)
Hairy Woodpecker (1, Lookout Hill.)
White-breasted Nuthatch (2, Butterfly Meadow.)
Golden-crowned Kinglet (Heard 1 or 2 on Wellhouse Dr.)
Cedar Waxwing (Several near lower pool.)
Wilson's Warbler (Male. First spotted feeding in phragmites near lamppost J249.)
Fox Sparrow (1, near lamppost J249.)
White-throated Sparrow (Fairly common.)
Dark-eyed Junco (Near Maryland Monument.)
Purple Finch (1, top of Gingko next to Terrace Bridge.)
American Goldfinch (Several.).

Other resident species seen (or heard):
Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Mallard, Herring Gull, Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, American Robin, European Starling, Song Sparrow, Northern Cardinal


Aleah said...

Gorgeous photos - the owl made my day!

Rob J. said...

I'm glad you like it. I went back looking for her today. Fresh whitewash and a pellet indicates that she's still around but that she's doing a better job of staying hidden.

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