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Sunday, January 30, 2005

Checking on the nest

Nest in the Tuliptree

(Photo credit - RobJ)

I took a short walk up to Payne Hill to check on Big Mama and Split-tail's nest. As I was approaching the base of the hill one of the hawks ascended out of the woods and began to circle above me. It looked like Big Mama.

I've been trying to come up with a simple way to identify the four resident Red-tailed Hawks. I thought that if I could find differences in their belly bands it might make it easy. The hawk I was looking at had a fairly dark, bold belly band. It was narrower in the center and flaired out as it approached the bird's axillaries. The bottom edge of the band had a pronounced concave appearence. There was a thick, dark line where the band met the axillaries. I will try to get photographs of all the red-taileds undersides in flight.

There was no work being done on the nest so I took a stroll in the snow up to the Vale of Cashmere. Somebody has been putting mixed seeds on the tops of two concrete pillars at the edge of the pond. Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Northern Cardinal, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow and White-throated Sparrow were fattening up on the easy meal. Also in the vicinity were Red-bellied and Downy Woodpecker.

White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)

(Photo credit - RobJ)

Female Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

(Photo credit - RobJ)

I expect to be seeing a lot more activity at the two Red-tailed Hawk nests in coming weeks. I'll keep you posted.


Dani said...

Great pics, Rob. Do you ever go birding out at eastern Long Island? Montauk is terrific in winter, but the north fork is pretty good, too. I have a lot of luck at Orient Park Beach State Park.

Rob J. said...


When I was young we used to spend our summers on Nassau Point. I remember getting dive bombed by Least Terns as we walked down the beach on the point. Of course I didn't know they were Least Terns back then (I wish I started birding when I was young). My brother is building a house at Orient so I'll have no excuse for not birding out east this year. I'll be sure to post my east end reports.


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