More faces, big, small, and bald.

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.

Published by Andrew Dressel

Theoretical and Applied Bicycle Mechanic, and now, apparently, Amateur Naturalist. In any case, my day job is teaching mechanics at UWM.

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