I’m still out east, and I returned to the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail this morning, where I had hiked last Friday. My sister came with me again, and the weather was just about perfect, so I was glad to have a second set of eyes along. Plus, she’s the one who rescued a Carolina wren from a glue trap a couple of years ago, in case we need to do that again.
We were counting a lot of birds by their calls, mostly little ones, but not seeing many, until we heard this one. At first, I wasn’t even sure a bird was making such a squawk. Click here to hear it for yourself. Thankfully, the handy-dandy Merlin app on my phone was able to identify it right away as the call of a red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus). Even better, it only took a moment to find it perched in the warm morning sun in a dead tree over someone’s back yard just off the path. Check out that “rich reddish-brown” chest! I’ve spotted them before, but haven’t been able to get a picture until now.
After all that excitement, we went back to not seeing much until my sister spotted a pair of wood ducks deep in the sticks on the far shore of a little pond. See what I mean about the second set of eyes? Here’s the drake in some very nutricious-looking water.
Finally, as we were crossing West Main Street in Cheshire, I caught sight of this masterpiece stoicly perched on a chimney over a building right along the road. That’s a black vulture, close cousin to the red-faced turkey vultures we’ve seen several times in Estabrook Park. Black vultures don’t venture into Wisconsin, but long-time readers may recall that I’ve seen them out here before when I was hiking in Sleeping Giant State Park, about 10 miles south of here. I only had my phone on me then, and am sure glad I had my camera with me this morning.
After that, we went to breakfast because my sister had to go to work today, poor kid, but I still had some time, so I visited the over-grown field where I saw the yellow warbler last Thursday. There are still plenty there, and here’s one.
This time, however, I was able to spot a brand-new species for me: a willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii). There were a few perched strategically and making their distinctive little call.
And that’s the report for today. I’ve got one more day out here, and then I should be back in Estabrook on Thursday.